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The “Innovations for Filipinos Working Distantly from the Philippines” (iFWD PH) program of the Cordillera office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-CAR), which is the agency’s answer to the call to support returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, has culminated with the provision of livelihood assistance to 6 OFW returnees from the Cordillera, with the following distribution: Abra (1), Benguet (2), Ifugao (2) and Mountain Province (1).
In her message during the iFWD virtual concluding ceremony on July 30, 2021, DOST-CAR Regional Director Nancy Bantog congratulated the OFW returnees enrolled in the program while assuring them support. “We will continue to work hard—and work together—to advance the entrepreneurial initiatives of our modern-day heroes,” she said.
According to her, iFWD provides opportunities for OFW returnees to be mainstreamed in the economic machinery of the government through technology-based enterprises in different sectors such as the food processing, furniture, gifts, houseware and décor, agriculture, marine and aquatic resources, metals and engineering, health and pharmaceutical products, information and communications technology, and electronics and science and technology (S&T) consultancy services.
Having completed the Phase 1 (capability-building), where the firms were guided on how to establish and maintain their business, the 28 graduates will now be provided the innovation-Enabling Fund (iFund) for entrepreneurship. This is Phase 2 of the program that includes the provision of technical training, product development and market testing, operational consultancy services, packaging and labeling design and equipment acquisition. Likewise, the DOST’s e-commerce OneSTore hub, will also be tapped to promote and sell their products online.
Meanwhile, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña and DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Engr. Sancho Mabborang, including officials from the regional offices of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in regions CAR, 9, 10 and 11 and from the Entrepinoy Volunteers Foundation, Inc., shared their appreciation to the OFW returnees in their respective messages. They appreciated the OWF returnees for engaging in the entrepreneurial spirit for the benefit of their families, communities and country through the iFWD. The DOST officials likewise reiterated commitment for institutional support for this new journey. By Christian Robert M. Sandoval