ILO Grant to Benefit Poor OFW Families

Monday, June 7th, 2010

MANILA, June 3, 2010-The International Labor Organization (ILO) awarded some P4 million in what has been described as "innovation grant" to Pioneer Life, Inc. in support of its project Pamilyang OFW Savers and Wellness Club. Pioneer Life Inc. was one of 18 grantees from more than 200 applicants.

The Pamilyang OFW Savers and Wellness Club was organized through the auspices of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines' Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) to encourage workers and their families to wisely manage their finances.

The program encourages each family to develop the habit of saving and build enough savings to allow for the early return of OFWs to their families.

ECMI Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Corros said the project is part of the reintegration program which the Catholic Church has established for OFWs.

"The government for a time has not introduced a doable reintegration program," he explained during the launching of the Micro-Insurance Grant at Pioneer House in Makati at midday Wednesday.

Launched in July 2009, the OFW Savers and Wellness Clunb are found in six dioceses with over 900 members. The members are entitled to benefits such as participation in financial literacy workshops, high interest rates on their savings, personal accident insurance, cash burial assistance, life insurance and privileges from industrial partners.

Pioneer Life's CEO Lorenzo Chan said his company believes introducing financial literacy workshops across the country would raise the people's awareness on the importance of saving for the future.

He said with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's grant through the International Labor Organization the more they would visit other isolated parts of the country with the CBCP-ECMI to aggressively emphasize the need to transform every Filipino into a responsible saver.

ILO Director Linda Wirth said a common coping strategy for people in times of emergency is to borrow money. She explained this is because about 80% of the world's population do not have social security and has created the niche for micro-insurance.

"Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has extended assistance to develop innovations to help millions of people across the globe," Wirth said while lauding the project jointly launched by Pioneer Life and the CBCP-ECMI.