#NewNormal : What You Can Do While Waiting For Deployment

Times like this are challenging and frustrating. You want to provide a better life and a more secure future for your family but Covid-19 happened. Worse, you might be stuck home and waiting for deployment until the Philippine government or the country you’re going to gives a green light.

What do you do with your time here? Don’t waste it.

The good news is there are many things you can do online. If you have Internet access, then take this opportunity to learn something new or improve your skills set.

Because of the pandemic, there is a sudden shift from offline work to online. Jobs that are related to technology will also be in demand nowadays since a lot of people will prefer staying home and doing what they can with several clicks.

As you await deployment, here are some productive things you can do:

Improve Digital Skills

Again, there is a shift from offline to online. Business owners, regardless of asset size, are also starting to set up their digital market to expand their reach and make it easier for potential customers to find them.

If this is the trend, then it’s time to improve your digital skills. Make yourself more aware of technological terms. Expand your vocabulary and knowledge to include concepts like e-commerce, online marketing strategy, and social media. There’s so much you can do on Facebook so make sure to explore that as well.

Who knows, this could pave way towards a new career path.

Take Online Courses

Did you know that TESDA offers free courses for OFWs through its Abot OFW program?

It covers several sectors including construction, automotive, processed food and beverage, visual arts, information and communication technology, and electronics among many others.

Make sure to grab this opportunity not only to learn more about your chosen field but also to improve your skills. You can even include your finished courses in your resume, which is a big plus for employers.

You can check out and enrol here.

Watch Video Tutorials

Here is another reason why you will appreciate technology: you learn a lot from it.

If you’re the type who prefers learning by yourself and not into course outline, then you can still improve your skills and learn something new by watching videos. All you need to do is to type in the search bar and you can find tons of information about it.

Still, the key here is consistency. Make sure you allot certain time of the day everyday for this to make sure that you will get better and be able to improve your skills further.

Start Small

The online market is in these days. Why not try this as well? It may not give you the income you’re expecting but at least, it could help you get by.

Food business is a growing market. Instead of joining the bandwagon and serving what others are selling, try to come up with your own product. Try combining different foods and who knows, you could be starting your own trend.

Creativity is important. Be creative in finding new food combinations. It is also important to be creative in presenting your product to the buying public. Make sure to take good photos as well to entice them to buy.

If you’re not into food, then that’s fine, too. You could sell anything, especially in-demand products like school supplies, work-from-home essentials, and homeschooling materials. Take advantage of the distance learning trend for additional income.

Don’t lose hope. This is just a roadblock but it doesn’t mean you cannot win against this. Things will get better soon and it’s up to you on how you want to face the pandemic.

4 Government Assistance Programs For OFWs

Covid-19 pandemic affected a lot of industries – tourism, food sector, hotel industry, and even retail. Apparently, there’s another sector that is greatly affected by this situation: OFWs.

OFWs around the world experienced job loss, thereby forcing them to go back home through repatriation. There are even many OFWs left in their respective host countries but were unable to work or worse, were terminated from employment. Many OFWs were also unable to go to their host country due to government’s travel restriction policies.

The good news is there are still assistance programs sponsored by several government agencies to help OFWs in this trying times.

These are:

Financial Assistance Through DOLE-AKAP Program

This is a one-time financial assistance amounting to P10,000 for affected OFWs. It covers documented workers, Balik-Manggagawa, and undocumented workers but are currently processing their status. You can apply through DOLE or respective POLO in case you are still overseas.

Keep in mind that despite fulfilling all the requirements, there is no assurance that your application will be approved.

You can learn more about this program here.

Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program

Not all OFWs are Metro Manila residents. There are still many overseas workers who live in the provinces. Or some prefer to settle in the city to seek greener pastures.

This program aims to decongest the urban areas and encourage people to go back to their respective provinces. At the same time, this will help boost countryside development. Support and incentives such as transportation, education, and livelihood among others will likewise be given.

You can apply through the Balik Probinsya center in your barangay or apply online by clicking this link.

Livelihood Program Through OWWA

One of the many benefits provided by OWWA or Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is Reintegration program or the mainstreaming of returning OFWs into the Philippine society. This includes financial literacy, job referrals, and business counseling among others.

Due to the pandemic, the agency introduced Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program. This is a livelihood support and assistance program wherein qualified OFWs may receive P20,000, which can be used for start-up or additional capital for the livelihood project.

Requirements include:

  • Application Form
  • Letter of Undertaking that the cash assistance will be used for self-employment or for starting or expansion of own business
  • Certificate of Entrepreneurial Development Training or EDT
  • Business plan or proposal approved by Regional Welfare Office Director, which indicates that the proposed business is feasible and sustainable
  • Proof of repatriation or return to the country such as passport, airline ticket, and other travel documents

If you’re serious about putting up your own business, then you can apply for the Enterprise Development and Loan Program. You can borrow as much as P2 million with 7.5 percent per annum interest rate. However, requirements and procedure are stricter since it has longer terms.

Free Training From TESDA’s ABOT OFW Program

Now that you’re back in the country, you might want to consider looking into trainings offered by TESDA. Various courses were offered including welding, electric installation and maintenance, processed food and beverage, wholesale and retail trading, Information and Communication technology, decorative crafts, and footwear and leather goods among others.

Apart from the free training programs, TESDA also offers scholarship programs for more detailed training. Last May 2020 and with the rising demand on food products, TESDA offers a scholarship program on integrated organic farming,

You can register for any of the TESDA programs through this link.

These assistance programs may not bring the lost earnings but these will be helpful in getting you back on your feet. Look into these closely and give it a try. Who knows, this could lead to something bigger that won’t require you to go work overseas.

4 Positivity Tips To Remember Amidst The Pandemic

It’s hard to maintain a positive outlook, especially during this time. Covid-19 changed the lives of millions of people around the world.

All of a sudden, there was a restriction on movement. You cannot do the things you normally do and enjoy. You have to assume that everyone around you could be a carrier of the virus; hence social distancing measures. In a snap, everything changed.

Because of this, a lot of people went through anxiety or struggled with some mental health issue . There was a feeling of uncertainty, especially when you have a family to feed and loans to pay back home. You could or already lost your job, which is another source of worry.

It may be easier said than done, but there are some things you can do to stay positive amidst the situation:

Tip No. 1: Limit Your Access To Social Media

Social media can be a source of anxiety, especially now that we are bombarded with a lot of fake and negative news. In fact, it can be toxic.

There’s nothing wrong with being informed but as much as possible, reduce the time you spend on social media. Set a time limit and make sure to stick to it. You may not notice but limiting your access will have a good impact on your mental health because you’re able to lessen toxicity.

Tip No. 2: Don’t Believe Everything You Read

This is another issue with social media. There are tons of information available online and honestly, it’s becoming harder to distinguish which among those info are real or not.

As a rule, don’t believe everything you see and read. Verify your news sources first before you share anything. Stick to credible and trustworthy news sites to make sure that you are properly informed. Otherwise, you could be a victim of a fake news.

Tip No. 3: Connect With Your Family

This is important. Family should be our source of strength and comfort. Make it a habit to continuously talk to them and keep them informed of what’s happening.

The good news is there are tons of platforms available that will allow you to talk to your family even if you are miles away. Instead of checking your Facebook, do a video chat or send them messages. The point is take advantage of that because at this point, you need assurance and love from the people back home.

Tip No. 4: Look For An Outlet

It’s easy to be negative and focus on the bad side of things. Unfortunately, this is not healthy in general.

It is hard but take this opportunity to discover something new. You can try enrolling in free classes to keep yourself updated. This is something you can boast of in your resume as well. Or rediscover old hobbies. Or try something new by learning a new skill.

Having an outlet will help in keeping you distracted from all the negativity in this world. Instead of focusing on the not-so-good side, you take this opportunity to improve yourself, which can also be helpful in the long run. Plus, don’t you just love it when you unlock a new skill? Who knows, this could lead to something great and could potentially open doors for you.

How To Cope In Case You Lost Your Job During Covid-19 Pandemic

Since the world became aware of coronavirus, everyone was in panic. What will happen next? Will this infect us? How can we go on with our lives amidst the pandemic?

But the most important question right now is what happens to your job, especially since you are working overseas.

Since the strict implementation of the lockdown, thousands of OFWs were either repatriated or not allowed to leave the country. Worse, millions of Filipinos are now jobless – the highest rate so far.

Times like this are extremely difficult, especially if you lost your job you so worked hard for. There is no assurance that everything will be okay in a few months time, but we do hope these tips will help you get through:

It’s Not Your Fault

Covid-19 affected everyone. Companies, even if they don’t want to, were forced to close down to minimize losses.

In case you lost your job, don’t blame yourself. This won’t help as well.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

You might be experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions due to job loss – anger, fear, worry, anxiety, and the list goes on. That’s normal. You have a family to feed and a long list of loans and other payables to pay so feeling these emotions is part of the process.

Acknowledge these emotions but don’t let these consume you. Otherwise, it will affect your way of thinking, which will make it harder for you to strategize on what to do next. Keep in mind that these feelings are temporary and you will get through this eventually.

Since you’re at it, take this time to reflect as well. Examine what you could’ve done to improve your performance. This is a good opportunity to look into how you were at work and vow to do better the next time.

Claim Your Employment Benefits

This is important. You might lose your job but this doesn’t your employer is exempted from not giving what is due to you. Make sure you demand your salary and benefits as stated in your employment contract.

Aside from your employer, the government also offers financial assistance amounting to P10,000 to OFWs. You can avail of this benefit as well. This one-time cash assistance may not be that much but it is still helpful.

Reach Out To Your Family

This is also important. At this point, you need the comfort and love coming from your family. Tell them what happened and be honest about your situation. Do not sugarcoat your reality because they need to be aware of what’s happening as well. This way, they can also make adjustments.

Of course, they will need your job but they will understand your situation and help you get through it.

Look For A Distraction

Dealing with job loss especially during this time can be difficult. While it’s okay to acknowledge those emotions, don’t focus on those alone. Instead, look for a distraction.

It could be rediscovering an old hobby or learning a new skill. You might also want to take advantage of courses online to help you improve your portfolio. Treat this as an opportunity and put it into good use.

Examine Other Sources Of Income

In the meantime, look for other sources of income. Online selling is in these days, so that’s an option you can try. Online jobs are also popular, which could give you extra income. If you have a particular service you can offer, say housekeeping or maintenance work, then do so.

There are many opportunities so don’t be afraid to explore.

We understand the situation you are in. Do know that this, too, shall pass. Take this time to explore something new and who knows, it could lead to something bigger.

The Possible Effects Of Covid-19 On OFWs And Overseas Employment, In General

According to the Department of Labor and Employment, almost 100,000 OFWs were stranded worldwide because of the coronavirus. These OFWs were either affected by:

  • Lockdown policies in their respective host countries
  • Distressed workers who are seeking repatriation
  • Expired contracts but cannot go back to the Philippines due to travel restrictions

Majority of these workers are coming from Middle East countries.

Here comes the scary part: this is just the beginning. Aside from tourism, overseas employment will most likely be affected by the pandemic.

Here’s how:

Lower Remittance

In 2019, OFW remittances went as high as $33.9 billion or 10 percent of the country’s GDP (1). These remittances have a positive impact on the country’s foreign exchange earnings. As a result, there is balance of payments, it strengthens the Philippine currency, and an increase in foreign reserves.

More importantly, it goes straight to the household. This means OFW families have sufficient spending power to buy not just what they need but also what they want.

Sadly, overseas employment is greatly affected by the pandemic. This means there will be lower remittances, too.

The New Normal In The Workplace

The hashtag #newnormal is trending – and it’s not surprising why. A lot of adjustments will be made by different industries to minimize the spread of the virus.

The same goes for the workplace.

Most companies around the world are making necessary adjustments to reduce the possibility of infection. Surely, social distancing will be strictly implemented. Companies will also be forced to institute a rotational workforce to reduce the number of workers inside the company premises. They might also implement shortened work hours in the company.

Lower Overseas Employment Opportunities

Countries around the world are enforcing travel restrictions to minimize the possibility of spreading the virus. More so, the government will prioritize their own citizens first. There could also be economic issues involved as every country in the world is trying to recover. Sadly, this will greatly affect overseas employment opportunities.

In the meantime, you can still look for jobs that will fit your credentials. When everything is slowly getting back to normal, you can apply again.

Temporary Or Indefinite Unemployment

This is true whether here or abroad. There are a lot of OFWs stranded abroad because thy are unable to go back home due to the travel ban. There are also a lot of workers who are still in the Philippines and cannot go to their host country because of the restrictions imposed. Worse, there are companies that opt not to renew or cancel the worker’s contract due to economic difficulties.

Changes In In-Demand Jobs

Because of the pandemic, there is a higher demand for healthcare workers both here and overseas. This could be a good income opportunity.

Aside from those in the medical field, there is also a growing demand for workers who are knowledgeable in technology. People will constantly look for ways to make their lives easier, especially when it comes to shopping and paying the bills. Apps will constantly by developed and creation of websites will be on the rise; hence work opportunities.

Still, this doesn’t mean other fields are no longer needed. Companies are waiting it out and when everyone is safe, the demand will rise again.

Health Is Key

There’s a reason why companies require future employees to go through medical exam. They need to know and make sure that you are fit to work.

Because of Covid-19, there is a possibility that medical exams will be taken more seriously. Companies need to ensure that you are fit to work, whether physically, mentally, and emotionally. This way, both parties can focus on work and not worry about being sent home.


  1. https://www.rappler.com/business/252043-overseas-filipino-workers-remittances-2019

6 Money Lessons OFWs Can Learn During Covid-19 Pandemic

2020 has been a challenging year – so far. Tragedies and natural phenomenons rocked the whole world. As of this writing, the world is still being challenged in the form of Covid-19.

The pandemic put a halt in everything. Tourism is heavily affected. Unemployment is on the rise. Lockdown policies are still in place, thereby making you unable to work or go to your country destination. Worse, the economy is bleeding, not just in the Philippines but also around the world.

Filipinos are resilient. We will constantly look for opportunities to rise in every diversity. That being said, here are money lessons we all can learn from because of this pandemic:

Lesson No. 1: Emergency Fund Is A Must

Emergency fund is designed for a specific purpose: during emergencies. At times like this, you need this fund now more than ever since, well, this is an emergency.

Ideally, an Emergency Fund must allow you to survive for at least three months. This will cover expenses such as food, medicine, and utilities while you are unable to work.

If you don’t have a separate emergency fund, then your savings will do – for now. The government provides P10,000 cash aid for OFWs plus other forms of help but having this type of fund could help you get through the rainy days.

READ: What You Need To Know About Emergency Fund

Lesson No. 2: Needs Come First

In this kind of situation, needs come first – always. You cannot afford to splurge on things your family back home wants, even if it’s on sale, because you need to be wiser on how you will use your money.

Covid or no Covid, always prioritize what your family needs first. Don’t buy items that will have no value in the long run just to satisfy your family’s requests. Splurging from time-to-time is okay and for as long as budget permits. But at this point, needs will come first.

Lesson No. 3: Invest Your Money Wisely

Investment is process wherein you put your money into something for profit or material results. Unfortunately, a new phone, bags, and shoes are not considered as an investment.

Stocks could be a good form of investment since the value appreciates over time. Companies give dividends several times a year, which means additional income. In case budget is an issue, time deposit or UITF could be a good place to start.

If you want something more tangible, then place your hard-earned money on properties. This way, you can have a place you can call your own.

The bottom line is be wiser. Banks and other financial institutions offer various forms of investment to help you grow your money.

Lesson No. 4: Look For Alternate Source Of Income

Your job overseas may be giving your family a comfortable life back home. Still, don’t be complacent. Having alternate source of income, whether in the Philippines or wherever you are, could help you a lot since you have additional buying power.

Teach your family to start something as well. Cook well-loved family dishes and sell it online. If any member is good at something, then consider monetizing that skill. Freelance or online jobs could be a good source of income as well.

More than anything, this pandemic is teaching each and every one of us to go out of our comfort zone and work harder.

Lesson No. 5: Borrow Wisely

There’s nothing wrong with borrowing money, especially if you need it to fund your existing business or thinking of buying a family home. But if you are borrowing money to extend your wallet to buy material things, then you need to evaluate your priorities.

Borrow money only if it will help you in the long run.

Lesson No. 6: Live Simply.

One thing this pandemic taught us is how to live a simple life. You’ll realize that at the end of the day, material things don’t really matter.

Sure, it will make you happy but at the end of the day, what matters most are food on the table, decent clothes to wear, roof above the heads, and a comfortable life.

What have you learned during this pandemic?

DOLE-AKAP Program For OFWs

The Covid-19 pandemic hit us hard, regardless of where you are in the world. But one of the groups who were heavily affected was you, overseas Filipino workers.

The reality is there is a threat of losing your job because the company you’re working for sustained heavy financial losses and may have to downsize. You cannot get side jobs for additional income because people need money for themselves as well. There are also a lot of OFWs who had no choice but to be repatriated.

What is the government’s response to the burden carried out by thousands of OFWs? DOLE-AKAP program.

What is DOLE-AKAP for OFWs?

This program of the Department of Labor and Employment is intended for displaced OFWs as a result of Covid-19. Its main purpose is to provide one-time financial assistance of USD 200.00 or P10,000 or its equivalent to the local currency where the OFW is currently located.

This is part of DOLE’s Covid-19 Adjustment Measure Program or CAMP amounting to P1.5 billion.

DOLE-AKAP covers:

  • Regular or Documented Workers – these are OFWs with valid passport, has appropriate visa or permit to work in the receiving country, and has Contract of Employment processed by POEA or POLO.
  • Qualified, Undocumented Workers – these are OFWs originally regular or documented workers but lost their status for some reason, OR whose contracts were not processed by POEA or POLO but have taken actions to regularize their contracts and status, OR active OWWA members at the time of the availment.
  • Balik Manggagawa – these are OFWs who are unable to return to their host country due to Covid-19.

What are the qualifications?

  • Worker must experience job displacement due to the receiving country’s lockdown or quarantine policies.
  • Worker was infected by Covid-19.
  • Must still be in the overseas jobsite and currently experiencing “no work, no pay,” or in the Philippines as Balik-Manggagawa, or already repatriated in the country
  • Has not yet received any financial support or assistance from employer or receiving country

How to Apply For DOLE-AKAP?

If you are still onsite / in the country where you are currently working –

Make sure you coordinate with your respective POLO. Each POLO has respective downloaded application forms. Once you secured a copy, fill it up and submit with it the following documents:

  • Copy of passport or travel document
  • Proof of overseas employment like work visa, residence ID, or OEC
  • Proof of loss of employment on the account of Covid-19
  • Proof that you are currently regularizing your worker status

POLO will evaluate your application within five working days. If approved, concerned POLO will release USD 200 through bank transfer or money remittance.

If you were repatriated / Balik-Manggagawa –

Step 1: Visit DOLE-AKAP online. You can access it by clicking here.

Step 2: Fill out the necessary information. Then click Next.

Step 3: Upload the following documents:

  • Passport or Travel Document
  • Flight ticket, boarding pass, or arrival stamp sticker on your passport. This serves as evidence that you returned to the Philippines.
  • Proof of overseas employment such as work visa, OEC, or Permit to Stay
  • Proof of loss employment due to Covid-19 or that the receiving country are included in the list of heavily-affected countries such as Notice of Termination of Employment, closure of the company issued by foreign recruitment agency or employer, Incident Report on termination of employment submitted to respective POLO, or Certification of Displacement issued by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate or POLO
  • For undocumented workers, upload proof of your intention to regularize your stay in the host country such as work visa, employment contract, and payslip.

Step 4: Once uploaded, click Submit. A confirmation prompt will appear.

Step 5: Check your email for the system-generated confirmation receipt. Take note of this.

Step 6: OWWA officers will review your application. They will contact you so make sure you have all the necessary documents on hand. Once approved, your application will be submitted to the DOLE Regional Office concerned.

Step 7: The cash aid will be transferred to your account within five working days.

As of this writing, 86,000 OFWs, both in and out of the Philippines, were given cash aid by the agency. The agency is currently targetting up to 150,000 overseas Filipino workers who were affected by the pandemic.