Returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) displaced by the conflict in the Middle East may avail themselves of loans from the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture (DA) to finance alternative means of livelihood.
In a statement to the press, DA said it was willing to provide emergency loan assistance at zero interest worth 25,000 pesos ($500) each to returning OFWs from Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East.
“They may opt to avail themselves of a bigger amount under the recently approved DA-Agricultural Credit and Policy council Micro and Small Agribusiness Loan Program, where they can borrow from 300,000 pesos up to 15 million pesos at zero interest, payable in five years,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
With rising tensions between the US and Iran, the Philippine Embassy has mandated the evacuation of some 1,600 Filipinos in the conflict-ridden country, but this was eventually lifted by Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III after a few days.
The country’s three major domestic airlines have also committed to assisting the government in bringing home Filipinos living in the Middle East by offering free flights.
The DA, for its part, has opened its doors to OFWs who would decide to stay in the country following the conflict. The loans offered could be used to invest in agro-fisheries ventures.
PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK