Tue. May 11th, 2021

OFW Stories: How are some Repatriated Filipinos doing back home?

While one guy was getting multiple offers, the other was just selling whatever was in his suitcase to make a living after emigrating. Many expect to start small businesses, and many are searching for government assistance.

People in the country whose job options essentially disappeared during the pandemic have also seen how difficult it has become to return to the Philippines because of the economic recession.

Getting ready for a new job

Sarah Gollayan is one of the lucky ones. On July 6, she and her husband, Jose, returned to the country. She stated that she had received four job offers since then.

For two years in the United Arab Emirates, Gollayan worked as a nanny and did house cleaning in Abu Dhabi to make ends meet. In February, before the COVID pandemic hit the Gulf States, she worked as an administrative assistant at a medical clinic.

Her husband used to work in a restaurant in the United Arab Emirates. The couple, who live in Quezon City, has been working in the Gulf state for nearly six years, beginning in December 2014.

Gollayan stated that three of the job offers she received were from business process outsourcing (BPO) companies. The fourth came from an offshore IT firm – all “good” offers with salaries comparable to what she received in the UAE. The nice thing is that they all have work-from-home options, she adds.

“They will provide the necessary equipment. “The two companies offered us a P2,000 monthly internet allowance as long as we worked from home,” Gollayan explained.

Sarah and Jose Gollayan. Photo Credit of Sarah Gollyan c/o Rappler

Signature bags for sale

April Chentes, who arrived in Manila on June 8, demonstrated her ability as an enterprising OFW by stockpiling signature ladies bags and other brand-name products that she is now selling online.

Chentes said it’s hard to market during a pandemic because people won’t buy as much, but she earns between P200 and P400 per bag she sells.

She previously worked in a high-end tourist shop in Dubai, which has since closed. Since March 24, she had been on unpaid leave.

Chentes stated that she uses a courier service to conduct business. “Pick up or meet up if I know the buyer,” she explained.

She claimed to have purchased her goods while still in Dubai.

Small business

Returning OFWs with some extra cash are considering starting a small business, as Renz Emille Antero Sy and her husband, Myko, have done.

One of the other factors that persuaded them to return home, according to Renz, was the housing costs in Dubai. They had to rent an apartment because they had a two-year-old daughter. Other OFWs in Dubai save money by bed spacing.

Renz stated that they were looking into OWWA programs for OFWs that they could take advantage. “May inaasahan kaming (We’re expecting) cash assistance from OWWA,” she said.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) also provides an OFW-Enterprise Development and Loan Program (OFW-EDLP), which provides loans in collaboration with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). It is intended to assist OFWs who run small businesses.

Renz’s most recent job in the UAE was as an office manager for a digital marketing firm. Back at home, the Sys will try their hand at a small business.

Renz stated that in the meantime, they would use their savings to sell a popular beverage among Filipinos: milk tea.

“Mag-try kaming magtinda ng milk tea since hindi rin naman makahanap ng trabaho,” she added.

Renz Emille Antero Sy, husband Myko, and daughter Caia Shiloh. Photo credit Renz Emille Antero Sy
c/o Rappler

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