In 2011, the Balik Pinay! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program was established to assist female OFW returnees in starting their very own business and never getting back to other countries to make a living. This is one of the many OWWA programs and services aimed to facilitate OFW reintegration and financial stability for them and their families through training, investment, savings, and entrepreneurship programs. The program includes livelihood skills training as well as designated starter kits.
Returning women OFWs are the eligible beneficiaries of the Program, with priority given to women OFWs displaced by hostilities and conflicts in their host country, or victims of illegal recruitment and trafficking, as well as other distressed and displaced women.
Qualified applicants must submit their requests to their preferred DOLE Regional Office based on the location of their future business. Based on the training they received, the beneficiaries will receive a business enterprise start-up kit. All BPBH recipients are required to complete skills training in the field of their choice to be prepared to start a small business.
Note: Balik Pinay! Program is different from the Balik Pinas! Program. Read more about How to Apply OWWA Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program
The Balik Pinay Balik Hanapbuhay Program was expanded in 2013 by Administrative Order 333 to include women OFWs in Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Resource Centers (MWOFRC) in POLOs. In just four years, the program has reached over 4,000 beneficiaries, many of these OFWs have started their businesses or used their newly acquired skills to find new jobs in the Philippines.
This is not just a program that will give ex-OFWs new knowledge to start their own business, but it can also provide Starting Kits that will lessen the worries of new Filipina business owners.
The training for women shall fall under the following sectors: (a) agri-industry, (b) food processing; (c) retail trade; (d) home industry; and/or (e) other feasible enterprises that will be identified through consultation with stakeholders.
All eligible beneficiaries will be given P10,000 worth of:
- P7,500 (Starter Kit Cost)
- P2,500 (Training Cost)
- This program is for OFW women who were displaced due to conflicts and hostilities in their host country.
- OFW women who are victims of abuse, illegal recruitment, trafficking, pre-terminated, and exploited by their employers.
- Distressed OFW women who are in the care of POLO and Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Resource Center (MWOFRC).
- Arrival Stamp (Last arrival date in the Philippines)
- Passport’s picture page copy
- Accomplished National Reintegration Center of OFWs (NRCO) Form
- Basic Business Plan
How to Process Balik Pinay! Balik Hanapbuhay Application
Step 1: Compile all your requirements, so you can present them in a complete and organized form. Remember not to skip any of the requirements said above because staff from OWWA, DOLE, and NRCO will not assess you in case you have one missing document. So make sure you have the complete documents.
Step 2: POLO or Philippines Labor Office will prepare you for your reintegration into the Philippines.
Step 3: POLO will then prepare and train you according to your chosen livelihood project.
Step 4: As an applicant, you will go through a training which is called “Basic Entrepreneurship” and start a Business Planning. You’ll get a certificate after you graduate from the course training.
This will require plenty of work because you need to go to DOLE, NRCO, or OWWA Office. All of the said government agencies are involved in this program. Go to one of these branches to inquire how you can submit your requirements accordingly.
Step 4: Wait for their call. You need to be patient because the application might take a while. They will notify you through call if your application was accepted or not. Each of the agencies involved in this program has its internal process to scan each application. It will last several days, so make sure to wait for their call.
Step 5: The POLO will then assign a livelihood course available for you. You can now undergo training, and later on, will be endorsed to NRCO.
Step 6: The NRCO will take care of funding for the Livelihood Starter Kits. The agency will also endorse you to OWWA Regional Welfare Office or DOLE Regional Office.
Step 7: Finally, your Starter Kit will be delivered by OWWA Regional Welfare Office at your doorstep.
Video: Balik Pinay! Program
Check out this video feature from the National Reintegration Center for OFWs about the Balik Pinay! livelihood assistance project. The video showcases a Filipina who was able to utilize the money to start her own small business so she can still be income-generating while in the Philippines
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some common questions and answers you may have about this project:
1. Can OFW men avail the Balik Pinay! program?
No, this is only intended for Filipina OFWs. There is a program called Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay livelihood project that both men and women can apply.
2. I’m a distressed Pinay OFW, and I already received my benefits from Balik Pinay Balik Hanapbuhay Program. Can I still avail the Balik Pinas Balik Hanapbuhay Program?
No, because these two programs have almost the same qualifications, but the only difference is that Balik Pinay is intended for women. You can only apply for one of these programs.
3. Can I still avail and apply for this program even if I’m already in the Philippines?
Yes, you may try to inquire to the nearest OWWA or DOLE Regional Office near you to know the requirements and if your length of stay in the Philippines is still covered by the said program.
Many Filipino women travel abroad to work and to provide for their families. Despite unfair and dangerous working conditions, they push themselves to work harder in a foreign land for a bright future for their loved ones.
Almost 500,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) abroad were displaced during this pandemic, while an additional 1.1 million have been unable to resume or begin working abroad since January 2020.
Most of the reasons Pinay OFWs leave the country to work abroad is that their husband’s income cannot support all the expenses of their family or they are single moms. For the Pinay OFWs out there who are being abused, maltreated, and underpaid, do not hesitate to talk to the right person and raise your concerns.
You can go back to the Philippines safely, and the government has a lot of programs waiting for you. Though the benefits are not that huge, you can still manage to build your own business or find a new job in the Philippines.
But for this program, it is strongly recommended to use the benefits to start your own business. Who knows? Maybe one day, that small Sari-Sari store can become a mini grocery, that homemade bread and pastry you sell can turn into a huge bakery.
A bit of advice, if you have given a small capital and you earn a small profit from it, do not use the profit to buy material things you don’t need, instead re-invest them to make your capital big and start earning more.