As of late, the news coverage related to the OFW community has been negative.
- “OFW who won $2.3 Million in Singapore lottery accused of stealing ticket”
- “Bong Bong Marcos decries alleged “bullet-planting” of OFW”
- “OFW Remittances faces Downward risk”
You might be asking, “Hasn’t there been any encouraging news or inspiring stories among OFWs?” After all, the old adage bad news sells is probably true. Journalists are often quick to report events and incidents that would ignite public outcry or strong opinions from politicians.
Well, there has been inspiring stories. Last Saturday, (Oct 24, 2015), The Global Filipino Investors (TGFI) organized a day long financial literacy event for OFWs in Singapore. The event was called Global Summit and it featured 10 finance experts sharing their wisdom with a full house of over 500 OFWs.
And thanks to the kindness of Floi Wycoco (TGFI CEO) and Malvin Dinlasan (TGFI Marketing Head), BeamAndGo had the opportunity to share our advocacy to promote alternative remittance for basic needs to the OFW community.
I have attended many investment forums but TGFI’s Global Summit provided the most content-rich program with a full range of relevant topics for OFWs: personal finance, business registration and taxes, real estate, mutual funds, and stock market investing.
My personal favorites included:
- ANC News “On The Money” Host Salve Duplito’s warning for people to refuse the lies of investment scams. For more on her personal finance articles, Click here
- I-Remit Chairman Bansan Choa’s focus on the 3R’s: Real estate, Remittance, and Retirement
- Suzan Bigay, my former finance professor at UA&P, who famously said “Our real asset is our creativity.” (Thanks Suzan, you are the reason why I am not so poor!)
- Marvin Fausto’s Putting Eggs in Different Baskets – This man has raised a family of investors together with FQmom.com blogger Rose Fres Fausto.
I also found it mind boggling to discover from Salve Duplito that many OFWs do not plan on how their remitted funds are used. In a survey she presented, when asked the question “When your household receives money, do you plan how it will be used?”,a staggering 45% of the OFWs responded “no”!
At BeamAndGo, through our research, we also noted a lack of financial literacy amongst OFWs. And many wanted to learn but they just didn’t know how. So in September, we launched the LearnAndGo Financial Literacy Workshop Series with our first event held in Iriga City. Over 500 members of OFW families attended. And just this month, we partnered with the Mindanao Federation to conduct a financial literacy workshop in Hong Kong, which was attended by 250 OFWs. We have another event planned before the year and we’re setting up the schedule for 2016.
So while the news circulating related to OFWs has been rather gloomy of late, there are rays of sunshine around. At least in this blog and the TGFI community, we work together to provide the tools, knowledge and encouragement for Filipinos to become financially literate. We Filipinos are known to be resourceful, creative, hardworking and resilient. That is good news!