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FELSF Loan Availments Surpass P73M
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Filipino Expatriate Livelihood Support Fund (FELSF), the easy lending program of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) for members displaced by the global financial crisis, has lent over P73,063,155 in loans to 1,473 applicants as of May 11, 2009, as the processing of more applications continues.

Launched in January this year, the Fund is part of a P100-million credit facility created by Labor Secretary Marianito Roque under the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) of President Macapagal-Arroyo. FELSF loans are available up to P50,000 for duly registered OWWA members whose work contracts abroad were shortened as a consequence of the economic downturn from October 2008 onwards. OWWA is offering this loan without collateral for two years. The interest rate is only 5% per annum, and borrowers start paying back only after a grace period of 90 days. Loan applicants qualify by attending a three-day course on starting a livelihood business. The course, a grant by the Department of Labor and Employment, covers entrepreneurial basics, skills training, practice materials and training kits. OWWA can assist applicants in developing a business plan. In Metro Manila, the form is available at the National Reintegration Center for OFWs at Blas F. Ople Center, BFO Development Center, Solana St. corner Victoria St., Intramuros, Manila. Those interested may also approach their nearest OWWA regional office. According to OWWA Administrator Carmelita S. Dimzon, the FELSF loan's easy lending facility can help distressed members jumpstart their economic aspirations after losing jobs abroad. "By transforming setback into opportunity, they take the first step to become self-employed."OWWA will help them start new enterprises on a modest but manageable scale, or revive existing ventures. Either way, nothing beats growing your own pet project and being your own boss."