Pasay City on Tuesday hosted the yearly gathering of overseas Filipino workers and their beneficiaries at the World Trade Center.
The 9th OFW and Family Summit, spearheaded by the Villar Family through its foundation, the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (Villar SIPAG), was attended by more than 4,000 OFWs and their families. This year’s theme was “Kabuhayan sa Sariling Bayan.”
“We are happy because many of our OFWs came and showed interest in the livelihood or business opportunities here in the Philippines that they can earn from and place their income in during or after their time abroad,” Senator Cynthia Villar said.
For the past years, the summit has evolved into a one-stop shop for OFWs where government and non-government organizations, as well as business owners and franchise holders, have set up booths and attended to the needs and queries of the attendees from starting a business to availing of government assistance and services.
Villar was joined by Las Piñas Rep. Camille Villar, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Pasay Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, and Nick Reyes, representing Pasay Rep. Tony Calixto, during the ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
Resource persons were invited to discuss topics on financial literacy, business start-ups/trends. OFWs turned successful entrepreneurs also provided guidance on how to seize opportunities and become entrepreneurs.
The dialogue with officials from government agencies focused on the concerns of OFWS from where to find accredited recruitment agencies, where to ask help for problems abroad, and their rights as an OFW.
On the topic of financial literacy, the speakers were Burn Gutierrez, chairman of Angat Pilipinas Coalition fro Financial Literacy; Eric Atanacio, president of Terra Verde Ecofarm, Inc.; and Rienzie Biolena, president and chief financial planner of Wealth Arki Consultancy, Inc.
For business landscape start ups, the speakers were Emma Tolentino, farmer owner of Eco Natural Integrated Farm and Learning Site; Ace Vergel dela Cruz, acquisition executive of Grab PH; and Capt. Danny Ricohermoso, executive vice president of the Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines, Inc.
OFWs turned entrepreneurs Gene Gutierrez (CEO and Founder, Big Ben’s Gourmet and Big Ben’s Kitchen), Bianca Tolentino (Founder, Cofficina Cafe + Co-work), and Princess San Diego (CEO and Founder, What’s Your Flan) were also featured in the panel discussion.