Project EASE: P10,000 Financial Assistance For OFW Children

According to the Department of Education, there are seven million Filipino children who did not enroll for the school year 2020 – 2021 (1). This is not a good sign.

Unenrollment may be due to several factors: lack of confidence on how effective distance learning is or limitation on tools and access to technology. On the other hand, the most common reason is lack of funds as a result of the parents’ unemployment.

For OFW families, this could also be the problem. The OFW sector is heavily hit by the pandemic as thousands of migrant workers were either repatriated or no longer allowed to leave due to strict restrictions whether in the Philippines or host country (2).

In line with the this, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration or OWWA launched Project EASE, an educational aid for OFW families.

What Is Project EASE?

Educational Assistance through Scholarship in Emergencies or Project EASE is an education assistance to qualified college-dependents of active OWWA members whose employment was affected by the pandemic since February 1, 2020. By active members, this could mean:

  • Land-based workers
  • Sea-based workers
  • Balik Manggagawa

This educational assistance provides P10,000 per annum for a maximum of four years.

So far, the agency allocated P400 million for the implementation of the project on its first year.

Who are qualified for this educational assistance?

Eligible dependent of active OWWA members include:

  • Child of married or single parent – OFW
  • Sibling of single OFW

The beneficiary can also be an incoming college freshman or currently enrolled in college.

For married OFW couples, you are only entitled to only one slot.

Take note that if your dependent is already getting other educational assistance from OWWA such as Education for Development Scholarship Program or EDSP, ODSP, or ELAP-Education, then s/he can no longer avail of the benefits of Project EASE.

What are the requirements?

  1. Accomplished Application Form. You can access the form by clicking on this link.
  2. Valid passport of OFW-member
  3. Flight ticket of boarding pass or arrival stamp/sticker attached in the passport. This will serve as evidence that the active OWWA member arrived in the country after February 1, 2020.
  4. Official Receipt or other proof of validation that will show that the OFW is also an active OWWA member
  5. Student-applicant’s proof of relationship to OWWA member such as Birth Certificate for married or single parent OFW OR Certificate of No Marriage and Birth Certificates of both the OFW and the sibling if active member is single.
  6. Certificate of Grades of the student-applicant indicating the grades from last school year or semester. Take note that there should be NO failing grade in any subject.

How to Apply For Project EASE

  1. Fill out the online application form.
  2. Submit all the requirements through the OWWA RWO email. You can check this link for the OWWA Regional Welfare Office that covers your area.
  3. You will receive a tracking number or serial reference, which will be sent on your registered mobile number or email address. You can use this reference to monitor the status of your application. In case of incomplete documents, the respective OWWA RWO will also inform you through SMS or email.
  4. If approved, OWWA will send you a Scholarship Agreement. Download, print, and then sign the document. This must also be notarized.
  5. Send the Scholarship Agreement via courier on the designated OWWA RWO that handled the application.
  6. Financial assistance will be sent to the designated bank account. Take note that the bank account must be under the name of the beneficiary. Otherwise, you will be required to open a savings account under your child or sibling’s name.

Keep in mind that this educational assistance will not cover your child or sibling’s entire tuition fee. Nonetheless, it could help augment various expenses like books and other school materials.

For more details, you can visit OWWA website.

Note: Balikbayad is NOT affiliated or related with OWWA. This article is merely for informational purposes only.

Reference:

(1) https://rappler.com/nation/teachers-group-says-millions-students-still-unenrolled-july-13-2020

(2) https://www.manilatimes.net/2020/08/11/opinion/editorial/repatriation-of-ofws-is-a-national-obligation/753655/

Dealing With Unemployment At The Time Of Pandemic

The latest data shows that 45.5 percent or 23.7 million Filipinos are unemployed as of July 2020. This is an all-time high considering the unemployment rate last December 2019, which is at 17.5 percent. The highest unemployment rate prior to lockdown was recorded

There are many reasons attributed to unemployment. Apparently, the most obvious of such is the longest-running lockdown that forced people to stay at home and caused businesses to close, initially temporarily and eventually, permanently.

OFWs are also affected. Those who were in their host countries were repatriated since their employers were likewise forced to shut down or suspend their business and lay off “redundant” workers. OFWs who were about to go to their respective host countries were forced to stay home due to the lockdown.

But first, what is unemployment?

For the Social Weather Stations or SWS, unemployment means the worker or employee:

  • Voluntarily left his or her job
  • Looking for a job for the first time
  • Lost their existing employment due to economic circumstances beyond their control

In this situation, the Covid-19 pandemic caused many businesses, specifically Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises or MSMEs, to close down and stop their operations to minimize business losses.

Worse, no sector was spared. Regardless of where you are in the country, unemployment rate is at its peak, which is at 40-something mark. Women were greatly affected with unemployment rate at 56 percent.

In terms of age group, the younger generation were affected the most. Unemployment rate for those between 18 and 24 years of age is pegged at 63 percent. This age group was followed by those between 25 and 34 years old at 49 percent.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find a job as of this writing. The country – and many others around the world – is experiencing recession. This means the economy is gloomy and it will take time before the country gets back on its feet.

What can you do if you become unemployed?

This doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do about this. If you are part of the statistics, then there are ways to help you ride this out and survive.

These tips might help:

  • Claim for Unemployment Benefits

Even if you lost your job as a result of pandemic, employers are still obligated to give you your separation pay and other benefits. Talk to the HR Department and submit necessary requirements to make a claim.

  • Make Use Of Government Assistance Programs

The good news is help is still available. The government, through Bayanihan Heal As One Act, launched several financial assistance programs through various agencies.

Still, take note that not all request for financial assistance will be granted. This will still depend on the availability of funds despite submitting complete requirements.

  • Watch Out For Any Job Openings

Despite high unemployment rate, there are still companies that are hiring. Consider looking into job hiring sites to check if there are openings fit for your skills and work experience.

Online work is also available these days. Make sure you ask around from friends and relatives if they know someone who are in need of your skills.

Looking for a new job could be tiring, but you have to try it, right?

  • Start Your Own Small Business

While waiting for a new job, consider starting your own small business.

A lot of people turned to social media to promote their products or service. You can do the same. The income may not be as big compared to how much you’re earning overseas, but this could be a good source.

Check out this post for small business ideas you can try.

Unemployment is a tough situation to be in, especially at the time of pandemic. Still, don’t lose hope. You and your family will get through this.

Small Business Ideas You Can Try Even With Low Capital

If you’re an OFW, you’re either in the country where you’re working or back in the Philippines, which is most likely the latter.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, more than 31,000 OFWs as of May 2020 – and this number is still increasing (1). Aside from this, thousands of Filipino workers are unable to leave the country to work overseas. Surely, this created an impact, especially financially.

Still, this doesn’t mean it’s over. The pandemic affected everyone’s way of life and living but this doesn’t mean you cannot do something about it. While you’re still awaiting deployment or planning to look for a new job, here are business ideas you can do first and who knows, this could venture into something bigger:

PASTRY BUSINESS

Who doesn’t love sweets? If you or anyone in the family have a knack for baking, then you can put those skills into good use and start baking. The good thing about this business is that you need less than P10k for capital, especially if you already have basic tools like mixer and measuring devices.

Chocolate chip cookies and brownies are common favorites but if you want people to notice, then think of something that is not yet offered in the market. Remember the ube cheese pandesal craze?

FOOD TRAYS

If baking is not your passion, then cooking could bring in some extra cash – and this is doing good, so far. Many people are always in the lookout for new dishes to try and if you happen to have a family favorite, then why not share and sell it?

Weekly meal plans are also click these days since many people are starting to become more conscious. If you opted for this, then careful meal planning is necessary since you have to prepare four meals for one week.

Costing is crucial, so don’t sell your products too low to lose profit or too high to lose customers. Explore your options when sourcing your products. Supermarkets have higher prices but you are assured of the safety and cleanliness of the food products.

DELIVERY SERVICE

Grab, Lalamove, and Mr. Speedy are in demand nowadays. If you prefer a set-up you can control, why not partner with online sellers you know and offer delivery services? You will have to service a few instead of waiting for the transaction to come in. You can negotiate your fees as well, so it’s a win-win situation for both parties.

Still, this requires a smartphone and motorcycle. If you already have one, then make use of it now. Otherwise, you have to buy one, which will cost P40,000 or less, depending on the brand.

PALAMIG OR HOMEMADE DRINKS

Milk tea are popular for quite sometime. But if you want to stand out in the market, then offer drinks that caters to health-conscious individuals or those who are into a specific diet.

Selling drinks is among the low-cost but profitable business ideas because let’s face it, who doesn’t drink, right? It’s a hit, too, regardless of the weather.

WEB DESIGN SERVICES

if you or anyone in the family has a knack for anything tech-related, then consider this business. Web design is in demand these days because many companies are transitioning and slowly going digital. A lot of startup companies are also in need of this service, so take advantage of this as well.

BECOME A RESELLER

Thinking of what to sell and making these products can be time consuming. The good news is there are tons of online sellers who are looking for resellers of their products. This way, they could reach a wider market – and this is where you come in.

What’s good about being a reseller is that you don’t have to be involved in the actual process. You can also re-sell multiple products, as long these products are not directly competing. This could result to higher income as well.

Storage is an important factor, especially if you will resell frozen goods. Make sure you have sufficient space as well and always be mindful of your inventory.

This pandemic compromised your plans for your family but this doesn’t mean you cannot do something to salvage the situation. Business may be slow and small at first but with hard work, effort, and help from family and friends to support your venture in social media, things will get better soon. Have faith.

Source:

(1) https://www.dfa.gov.ph/dfa-news/dfa-releasesupdate/26872-dfa-brings-total-number-of-repatriated-filipinos-to-over-30k

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.

Sources:

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

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.

How To Cope With Covid-19 While Overseas

You already heard or read about it somewhere. As of this writing, hundreds of thousands of people around the world are infected with Covid-19. Thousands were already dead since the virus was discovered late last year. Worse, millions around the world are unsure as to what will happen and how to recover when all of this is over.

This includes you.

You might be worried of the future since your bread and butter is temporarily halted. Because of the lockdown imposed by the government where you are located, you cannot work – and no work means no pay as well. Surely, you are more worried about your family back home, who is also dependent on remittances.

Times like this can be stressful. You might be anxious and has this urgency to go home but you can’t because of the imposed lockdown. The government, as much as they want, might not recommend repatriation because of the increased risk.

While this may be easier said that done, here are some tips to help you cope with coronavirus even while overseas:

Tip No. 1: Observe Proper Hygiene

Regardless of where you are, hygiene is a must. Covid-19 can be spread easily if we don’t practice proper hygiene, especially when going out.

Wash your hands regularly, sanitize and disinfect your home, and keep yourself clean at all times. Some say wearing a mask is not helpful, but you’ll never know who you’ll interact with so it’s better to have some protection. It won’t hurt if you use gloves, too, especially when going out.

Tip No. 2: Practice Social Distancing

This is a must. Close contact is among the easiest ways to spread the virus. As much as possible, practice social distancing or at least one meter away from other people.

Avoid crowded places. If possible, bulk up as much as you can to minimize your trips outside and increase your chances of catching the virus.

If you know someone who is sick, regardless of the cause, then it is best to stay away from that person – for now.

Tip No. 3: Maximize Technology

You could be missing your family now more than ever. Unfortunately, you cannot go home because of the risk.

Thankfully, there’s technology. Unlike decades ago, all you need is an Internet connection and Facebook account, and you can talk to your loved ones back home. Make sure to keep them updated of your situation because surely, they are worrying about you, too.

Tip No. 4: It’s Time To Bring Out Your Emergency Fund

We cannot stress enough the importance of having an emergency fund. Again, you’ll never know what will happen so it is best to be prepared.

The issue with imposed lockdowns means you cannot work as much as you want to. This could affect your current money status since you still need some to survive. If that’s the case, then you will need to use your Emergency Fund since, well, the situation is considered as emergency.

Tip No. 5: Take Care Of Yourself

Unfortunately, Covid-19 is deadlier on elderly people and those who are immuno-compromised or with underlying medical conditions. Even if you don’t have hypertension or diabetes among many medical conditions, this doesn’t mean you will be spared from contracting the virus.

That being said, make sure to take care of yourself not just for your own sake but also for your family. Get sufficient amount of sleep, exercise as much as you can, and eat healthy. A strong immune system is what people need these days and you need that as well.

Soon, this will be over and everyone could go back to their normal lives. While we all wait for that day, brace for impact and stay as healthy as you can.

7 Signs You Should Leave Your Job Overseas

They say OFW life is not for everyone. That could be true. Can you just imagine battling with homesickness and living in a foreign country you’ve never been to?

Being an OFW requires tons of sacrifices – starting from the application process to adjusting to your new life overseas. Even going back home can be stressful as well, especially if you cannot present the required documents.

Nonetheless, there are instances that tell you that it’s time to go home even without finishing your contract. As much as it hurts to leave early, you have no choice.

Here are signs that tell you that you need to leave your job:

Sign No. 1: You Are Sickly

There is a reason why employers require medical exam. They need to know that you are physically fit to handle the job. Otherwise, your application will be rejected.

If you notice that you are becoming sickly up to the point where you cannot fulfill your job properly, then it’s probably best to go home. Your employer will most likely terminate your contract since you are not physically fit for the job.

Sign No. 2: Your Mental Health Is Suffering

Aside from being physically fit, OFWs must also be mentally fit.

Being away from your family could take a toll in your mental health. Some might be depressed, will experience homesickness, or will get paranoid. While it’s normal to be sad and feel worried, what employers don’t like is when these emotions are taking a toll on the job.

Perhaps, OFW life is not for you.

Sign No. 3: You Experience Abuse

This is a serious situation. Abuse, in whatever form, is and will never be tolerated. This could mean verbal abuse, bullying,

If you experience abuse from your employer or even your co-employees, then it’s best to go home. Make sure you coordinate with the Philippine Embassy since they have a Repatriation Program that helps distressed Filipinos into going back home.

Sign No. 4: You Were Scammed

Sometimes, it’s not your employer’s fault as to why you need to go back home. Sadly, illegal recruitment is still prevalent and if you happen to be a victim, you need to consider going back to the Philippines.

First, illegal recruitment is prohibited by law. Second, this would mean that you are an undocumented OFW. If the officials in the country where you’re working finds out that you don’t have legitimate papers, then consequences will follow. Some will put you in jail while others may have you deported.

The bottom line is be more careful and vigilant. Pay extra attention to the agency you are dealing with and check its status in the POEA website to see if it is a legitimate and licensed recruitment agency.

Sign No. 5: You Don’t Have Enough Opportunity For Growth

Surely, you don’t want to do the same things over and over. As much as possible, you want to improve and get better in your chosen career path.

But if you notice that you’ve been doing the same job, or you’re not given the opportunity to showcase your skill, or your voice doesn’t matter, or there is limited room for improvement and growth, then it’s time for a check.

Perhaps, there is a different path somewhere around the world where you will be able to thrive and showcase who you are.

Sign No. 6: The Salary Is Not Enough

Let’s face it. The real reason why you sought greener pastures outside the country is because of the amount of money you will make. You have tons of responsibilities and you want to make sure that you will be able to do something about those.

But if you are not being properly compensated considering your skills or work experience, or your employer is stripping your benefits despite what was written in the employment contract, the maybe it’s best to leave your job abroad.

Know your worth because you deserve fair compensation.

Sign No. 7: You Want A Career Change

Here’s the thing about being an adult: sometimes, you still cannot figure out what you want. You’ll only learn about what you really need when you are tasked to do something and you realized that you weren’t happy. You want to try something new because you need not only bigger pay but also the opportunity to try something new.

Plus, you’re getting bored with your job and everything seems like a routine to you. In that case, you need to figure it out what you really want.

Given these signs, do you need to leave your job overseas? Only you can answer that.

Pay Your Bills Anywhere In The World With The Help Of These E-Payment Platforms

Being an OFW is not easy. Aside from being thousands of kilometers away from home, you have to deal with homesickness, different culture, and money issues.

Yes, money issues. After all, working outside the Philippines is not always a guarantee that you will get a better, more stable life.

This is why it is important to manage your money wisely.

Normally, you would send money back home and let your family do the budgeting, which includes paying the bills. But if you want to be sure, you would do the paying yourself.

The question is how.

Thankfully, there are tons of e-payment platforms that will help you pay the bills wherever you are.

Online Banking Service

This is the beauty of online banking. Aside from allowing you to keep track of your accounts and how much money you have, you can also pay your utilities bills, government contributions, loans, and credit card bills by deducting the said amount on your account.

You may also set up an auto-debit arrangement so you don’t miss a payment every month, especially for those non-negotiable expenses. Just make sure you sign up for an online banking account with your bank of choice to avail of this service.

The good thing about online banking services is that they have mobile counterparts. Simply check and download the mobile app of your bank of choice and make it easier for you to transact using your phone.

In this case, BDO is more convenient. It has partnered with tons of companies, thereby allowing you to pay utilities bills wherever you are.

Bayad Center Online

This is another convenient way of paying your bills. Bayad Center supports various billers including electricity, water, government services, Internet, cable TV, real estate, financial services, tuition fee, and even memorial plans.

Instead of sending remittances back home, you can already pay your bills conveniently through this service. Just make sure you pay on or before the due date since the system won’t allow overdue payments.

Also, there would be cut-off, which means payments must be made before 8:00pm, Philippine time. Otherwise, the payment will be reflected the following day.

You may also download the mobile app to make payment more convenient.

Meralco Online

This is exclusively for Meralco payments. You can either use your credit card, debit card, GCash, Smart Money, or Paymaya to pay for your electric bill. You may also enroll your Meralco account under auto-debit arrangement wherein the bill will be deducted from your bank account every month.

The good thing about this facility is that you are up-to-date when it comes to your billing. Payment will be reflected a few minutes. Also, partial and advance payments may also be made.

Meralco Online has a mobile app that you can download for free.

PayPilipinas

Let’s face it. Even if you are an OFW, you are still entitled to pay government services like SSS and PAG-IBIG. These agencies may have satellite offices abroad but not all OFWs can easily go there since they may be far.

Thankfully, PayPilipinas addresses that concern by allowing OFWs to pay contributions and loans with SSS and PAG-IBIG.

Simply create an account and link your credit card so you can start making payments. They also have partner remittance facilities in the Philippines so you can simply transfer funds in your PayPilipinas wallet.

Moneygment App

The truth is there are many Filipinos who are considered as unbanked or does not have access to bank facilities. This is where Moneygment comes in.

Moneygment serves thousands of unbanked Filipinos including OFWs. You can pay bills such as electricity, water, government contributions, cable TV, credit card, and Internet among others.

You can pay directly from your Moneygment wallet or through fund transfer. it may take one to two working days for the payment to get posted, so make sure you pay before the due date.

Coins.ph

Did you know that there are more than 80 billers listed in this payment facility? From electricity to tuition fee, Coins.ph is a convenient way to pay off those expenses every month.

Still, you need to add funds to your Coins.ph account before you can make any transaction.

There are many convenient and easier ways to pay your bills regardless of where you are in the world. Take advantage of these platforms to ensure that all of your bills are paid on time.

OFW Guide: How To Renew Your Philippine Passport

One of the most important requirements you need to accomplish when you want to work abroad is the passport. This serves as your travel document and that you are a citizen of a particular country.

Thankfully, passport validity is extended to 10 years, which means you will only renew your passport every decade.

Speaking of renewal, what are the requirements and process you need to do to be able to renew your passport? Is there a special lane for OFWs like you? How much money should you bring?

Keep reading to find out.

Passport Renewal Requirement

Here are the documents you need to bring when you renew your passport:

  • Renewal application form. You can get the form at the DFA or you can download the form here.
  • Current passport
  • Two government-issued IDs
  • OFW documents like Employment Contract, plane ticket, Exit Clearance, and passport with your employment visa stamp

In certain cases such as change of name for married applicants or misspelled name in your OFW documents, make sure you bring the following, whichever is applicable to you:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Death certificate of the deceased spouse

Take note that the DFA will only get photocopies of these documents. Still, they require that you present the original copy for checking.

What if you have an existing passport but you lost it? What documents do you need to bring to be able to get a new one?

Aside from the ones mentioned above, you also need to submit:

  • Personal appearance
  • Confirmed appointment with the DFA
  • Notarized Affidavit of Lost with detailed explanation as to how and where you lost your passport
  • Police Report, in case your passport was still valid when you lost it.

Take note that for lost passport, a 15-day clearing period is part of the renewal application process.

Where To Renew

The good news is you don’t have to set up an appointment to renew your passport. Every DFA Consular Office has Courtesy Lanes, which accommodate applicants like OFWs, minors, and senior citizens.

Thankfully, the DFA announced that the Robinson’s Galleria branch will be exclusive for OFWs. This also means that you don’t have to set up an appointment to renew your passport. You can go in anytime, as long as your requirements are complete.

Costs For Passport Renewal

Just like anything else, renewing your passport means you have to pay for certain fees.

For regular processing, which requires 15 working days before you get your passport, the fee of P950 must be paid. If you’re in a rush, then be ready to pay for P1,200 so you could get your passport within seven working days.

An additional fee of P200 or P350 must also be paid for lost and valid MRRP / MRP and e-passport, respectively.

You might also want to allocate funds for photocopy, which is P3 per page. You can save more from this by making sure that you photocopied ALL documents before going to the DFA Consular Office.

Step-By-Step Procedure And Things To Remember On How To Renew Passport

1. Prepare all documents needed for passport renewal.

Make sure that all of the documents are ready, both original and photocopies. Create a checklist so you won’t miss out on any requirements.

2. Proceed to the DFA Consular Office early.

This way, you don’t have to worry much about long lines and you can finish early as well.

Also, dress appropriately. Sleeveless shirts, shorts, short skirt, and slippers are NOT allowed. You are entering a government agency, so make sure you dress properly.

3. Get a number and wait for your turn.

The guard on duty will give you a number. Hold on to that number and wait for it to be called.

Once called, submit all the documents at the service counter.

4. Pay the passport fees.

You can go for regular processing or have it expedited.

5. Get your picture and biometrics taken.

A DFA official will assist you on this.

6. Delivery or Pickup

You have the option to either have your passport delivered to your home OR pick up in the DFA Consular Office where you applied. For delivery service, LBC will handle it for an additional fee of P150.

5 Things To Consider When Choosing The Best Bank While You’re Overseas

Leaving the country for bigger salary and being away from your family are some of the most difficult things you need to do. But hey, everyone need to make sacrifices to ensure the future, right? That is why it is important that you have the right partners that will give you peace of mind even if you are thousands of miles away.

One of them is your bank.

Having a bank is crucial in your OFW life because it will serve as your “delivery man” for your hard-earned money. You also need to make sure that your remittance will reach your family.

Before you leave the country, here are some of the things you need to look into when it comes to your bank:

The Type Of Bank

Did you know that there are different types of bank in the Philippines? In fact, they are classified into:

  • Universal or Commercial – This type of bank provides a variety of financial services to consumers. Aside from savings account, you can also apply for a loan, pay bills, start an investment, and even get a credit card. BDO, Metrobank, and BPI are some examples of universal or commercial bank.
  • Rural or Cooperative – These are small banks that are usually located in provinces. They offer basic financial services and more personalized customer service. However, financial services are limited to savings and checking account only, which means sending money from overseas could be an issue.
  • Thrift Bank – It offers higher interest rate for savings account and initial deposit is lower but unfortunately, they are limited to cash deposits only. Withdrawing via ATM may be challenging as well since branches are limited.
  • Digital Bank – Online banking are becoming popular these days, which makes financial transactions easier and more convenient. You can open an account, transfer funds, and pay bills among others using your mobile app. Interest rate and fees are also competitive. Sadly, there is no physical bank and face-to-face interaction is limited.

Services Offered

It’s not enough that you have a savings account, although having one is already a good start. You also need to know what other products and services can they offer that will make your life easier.

Since you are working overseas, you need to inquire about their online facility. Is online money transfer available? Can you pay your bills online?

Aside from this, ask for other products such as loan and investment. If they have a credit card as well, then go for it. Usually, you will have a higher chance of loan approval or getting a credit card if you are already a depositor of that particular bank.

Bank Fees

Another aspect you should look into is the fees charged by banks. How much is the penalty fee in case of delayed payment? How much will be charged on your account if your account is below the minimum maintaining balance? How much is the fee for balance inquiry or if you withdrew money from ATM that is not from your bank?

These are some of the fees you need to ask before you say yes to one bank.

Accessibility And Convenience

This is important. You are working overseas and sending money back home, which means accessibility and convenience is a MUST.

The bank must be accessible to your family to make it easier for them to withdraw money. An online facility is also a must since this will make remittance easier and more convenient as well. ATMs are also crucial since this will make banking more convenient.

Security

This is important. More than anything else, you need to know that your bank of choice will safeguard your hard-earned money. At the same time, the bank should assure you that your information is protected.

Identity theft and digital hacking are common these days. Your preferred bank must give you a peace of mind that your information and money is safe and secured at all costs.

Does your preferred bank met all of these requirements?