In cooperation with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Banco De Oro (BDO) Foundation, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has recently launched a financial literacy program that would teach Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and their families the value of saving.
The financial literacy program, named Pinansyal na Talino at Kaalaman or PiTaKa, would provide valuable lessons for OFWs that include responsible management of their personal finances.
On Monday, OWWA chief Hans Leo Cacdac expressed that the new literacy program would help OFWs improve their financial behavior with regard to spending lavishly rather than saving money.
Cacdac stressed the “very helpful culture of Filipinos” as one of the reasons why OFWs fail to save some of their hard-earned money abroad, where OFWs extend their resources to relatives and friends other than family members.
He also added that the information campaign will complement the financial initiatives of both government and private sectors in terms of handling financial resources among OFWs. “We will put emphasis on values formation, forming new and better financial behaviors and developing a positive attitude in dealing with money. It is about time that we change our cultural perspectives about money,” the OWWA administrator said.
The PiTaKa program is designed to equip OFWs with better financial management skills, helping them to get out of long-term debts and to encourage them to save for the future.
This would also educate OFW families about the “temporary” nature of the overseas job to help their loved ones cope with financial stress. Helping an OFW as the breadwinner would mean looking for other ways to support their family income and saving more than spending.
OFWs are mandated to attend a two-hour financial literacy seminar using videos while completing their pre-departure (PDOS) and post-arrival orientation seminars (PAOS).
BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. applauded the recent initiative of OWWA, describing the program as a “dream come true” for BSP to provide financial education to the modern heroes of the Philippines. “As remittances consistently account for 10% of the Philippine GDP, OFWs are indeed modern-day heroes. Yet we continue to hear stories of OFWs facing financial struggles. The PiTaKa program aims to change these sad stories into ones with happy endings— OFWs and their families living together in the Philippines, with the capability to sustain their financial health, and productively contribute to the national economy”, the decorated BSP official added.
Only 35.5% of the Overseas Filipino Workers save money out of their remittances and only 5% of the total percentage put their money in different financial instruments, according to Chuchi Fonacier, Deputy Governor of BSP. “If the OWWA-BDO program becomes fully implemented and successful, it is expected to lead to $2.6 billion worth of savings from OFWs and their families,” Fonacier noted.
The joint venture of OWWA, BSP and BDO Foundation will serve as part of the government initiatives to enhance financial education among Filipinos, encouraging them to take part in nation building.