Fredolin P. Aguinaldo – Doha, State of Qatar
|Courtesy of Jessie Gabiola Ako Pinoy president|
Philippine embassy officials in Qatar recently lauded leaders of Filipino community organizations who are gaining recognition through their financial advocacy program that encourages their compatriot Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and their family to go into business.
Their latest training program is in line with the vision of the Philippine Ambassador to Qatar, H.E. Crescente Relacion in equipping OFWs with the knowledge to save.
The training was first offered to the leaders of different Filipino organizations in Qatar who then prepared their own training syllabus and modules to be used and implemented by their respective members.
The training was conducted by several Filipino financial advocate members from Overseas Filipino Investors and Entrepreneurs Movement (OFIE-M) and – Pinoy WISE Movement (Pinoy Worldwide Initiative on Savings and Investment and Entrepreneurship) in partnership with the Philippine Embassy. It was held at the premises of the new Philippine Embassy in Jalaih area, Doha, Qatar on September 25, 2013.
About ten (10) community leaders representing their organization attended the training program. Attendees were compromised of engineers, financial analysts, well respected educators, technical staff, health care professionals and government institution representatives – the like of the Social Security System (SSS) and Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-ibig.
|Filipino community leaders first batch attendees|
The program kick started with Mr. Jun Villena – United Filipino Organization in Qatar Advocacy & Training member and moderator of the day, who introduced Engineer Danilo de la Torre – pastor, Pinoy WISE Movement member who leads the invocation.
United Filipino Organization in Qatar or UFOQ Ways and Means Committee officer Mr. Edd Alcantara gave a brief summary about the chosen speakers and the topics to be discussed during the training as part of his opening address. The crowd was eager for more so when Mr. Villena asked everyone to introduce themselves and speak out, the participants were more than willing.
The author, who was also present, started the ball rolling with a “Gusto kung yumaman, papaanu ko gagawin yun?” (I want to be rich, how can I make it possible). Another attendee, Mr. Pol said, ”Wala akong ka-ide-ideya kung papaano ako mag-sisimula” (I don’t have that slightest idea how to start).
De la Torre took these questions into consideration and started off with these words: My friends, you are not alone – there are thousands and thousands of OFWs out there who are in the same shoes as you are now, it is a good thing that I am now rich", he laughed as he started his discussion.
Contents of his presentation depicted the way of life by most Filipinos working abroad: that OFWs are easily being exploited, that they tend to change their lifestyle easily because money sources are easily available now and how they end up returning home with little or no savings and sadly, easily being attracted to others tending to forget his/her family values – a typical story of OFWs abroad.
With this in mind, de la Torre discussed about the impact of social reasons regarding Filipinos migration and investments. Aided by impressive technical knowledge clearly seen via his presentation, that is seemed to surpass those being used by prominent speakers worldwide and his expertise on his topic he was well received by the public.
During coffee break, the writer had the chance to ask a lady volunteer on how they acquire funds for learning materials, freebies that are given and food that are served during trainings. It is indeed a classic example of volunteerism, simply because it is being financed mostly from the group's budget wherein a huge chunk comes from generous Filipino entrepreneurs who believes in their financial literacy training program. This well mannered and very accommodating lady was none other than Atty. Daisy Tingson who acts in her capacity as adviser of OFIE-M.
The writer also got to talk with a very important person whom he believed to be one of the pillars of the on-going advocacy program. He is an engineer by profession and later talked about his group's on-going training program at POLO/OWWA office at Bin Omran held every Monday evening.
“OFIE-M has been continuously providing training to our college OFW for the past year dubbed as “Seminar on Financial Literacy” together with various related topics until participants acquire enough knowledge to go into business when they plan to go back home for good,". He was revealed to be Engineer Julius Espina – founding member of OFIE-M who steers their group into helping others to succeed.
The next speaker claimed to be very gentle – in fact, they always addressed him as “Ginoong Billedo”. His vast experiences in foreign affairs gave him all the right to tackle some of the key issues regarding the social cause of migration. His presentations was aided by factual data gathered from different government posts so that the agencies tasked to oversee the welfare of Filipinos abroad have clear idea on how they can best serve the needs of OFWs. Richard T. Billedo is the present Philippine Embassy Consular Assistant, Cultural Officer and Attaché in Qatar.
In a nutshell, the training program’s main topic was that of issues regarding the social causes of migration and how to cope with problems during their stay abroad. "Financial literacy is another key topic that the organizing committees tackled during the training program - just as more-and-more OFWs are now beginning to realize their best options to handle their finances productively, Filipinos in Qatar have to take advantage of this kind of training program", Billedo said.