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OFW Summit draws thousands

THE 9th OFW and Family Summit held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City on Tuesday drew more than 4,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families.

The yearly gathering of OFWs and their beneficiaries was spearheaded by the Villar family through its foundation, the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance.
This year’s theme was “Kabuhayan sa Sariling Bayan (Livelihood in the Homeland).”

“Masaya po kami dahil napakaraming kababayan na OFW ang nagpunta at nagpakita ng interes sa mga livelihood or business opportunities dito sa Pilipinas na maaari nilang paglagyan ng kinita nila abroad para magkaroon ng sariling kabuhayan dito sa atin (We are happy because of the many OFWs who came and showed interest in the livelihood or business opportunities here in the Philippines, where they can invest their earnings abroad),” Sen. Cynthia Villar said.

The summit has evolved into a one-stop shop for OFWs, where government and nongovernment organizations, as well as business owners and franchise holders set up booths and attended to the needs and queries of the attendees from starting a business to availing of government assistance and services.

“Gusto talaga namin na maraming mahikayat na ang katuparan ng mga pangarap ay hindi lamang makukuha kapag tayo ay nag-abroad. Pwede din tayong magtagumpay sa sariling bayan natin (We would like to encourage [our OFWs] that they can have their dreams fulfilled even without going abroad. We can also succeed in our own country),” Villar said.

The senator was joined by Las Piñas Rep. Camille Villar, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Pasay Mayor Imelda Calixto Rubiano, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Nick Reyes, who represented Pasay Rep. Antonio Calixto.

Invited resource persons discussed various topics such as financial literacy and business start ups/trends. Former OFWs who became successful entrepreneurs also provided guidance on how to seize opportunities and become entrepreneurs.

This year’s OFW and Family Summit was held in partnership with the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Labor and Employment, Social Welfare and Development, Agriculture, and Trade and Industry, as well as the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., Social Security System, Pagibig Fund, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, National Reintegration Center for OFWs, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Agricultural Training Institute, Philippine Carabao Center and the Blas Ople Policy Center and Training Institute.

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