MANILA: The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will allot PHP5 million initial funding for its iFWD PH (innovation for Filipinos Working Distantly from the Philippines).
The iFWD PH aims to provide opportunities to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families to establish technology-based enterprise in the Philippines.
In a phone interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Saturday, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said 25-30 OFWs can be accommodated for this year.
“We officially launched the program last Friday, and we are starting it soon. Initially, this (program) will be available in the NCR (National Capital Region), and we would gradually roll this out to other regions in the future,” he said.
Guidelines as to how this would work will be announced, dela Peña added.
He said the funding that the DOST would provide is a loan, and the OFW would return the amount with no interest.
To get funding assistance, the OFW would also be required to show a counterpart funding — whether in cash or equipment.
The counterpart funding needs to be the same amount that the DOST would provide, according to dela Peña.
“The businesses they would put up are required to be technology-based. “It can be as simple as food processing, electronics, as long as there is technology involved,” he said.
Meanwhile, dela Peña acknowledged that there are OFWs who were able to save some money.
“There are those who have the money, but we can still assist them by providing them orientation, training,” he said.
Dela Peña said the DOST could teach them the technical know-how of the technology-based enterprise they are eyeing to put up.
“We would teach them the technology, for example, in soap-making, etc. Among our goals is to help them improve their entrepreneurial competencies,” he said, adding that there would be no limit to the number of OFWs to be accommodated in this kind of assistance where no money is involved.
(PNA/ Ma. Cristina Arayata/ SRNY/ RSP)