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Project To Invest OFS’ Savings
 In PH Rural Development Launched In Seoul

A regional project intended to facilitate the investment by overseas Filipinos in the Philippines’ rural development was launched in Seoul on May 29, with the attendance of Secretary Imelda M. Nicolas, chair of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), and a representative of the Philippine Embassy in Seoul.

Backed by the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) Network, ACCESS Advisory and 10 primary cooperatives in the Philippines, the Regional Programme on Remittances and Diaspora Investment for Rural Development was launched in Seoul with some 50 resident Filipinos from more than a dozen community groups in Korea in attendance at the Ramada Encore Dongdaemun Hotel.

CFO Chair Nicolas commended the launching of the project, stressing the overlap in the objectives of the Regional Programme, with the concrete material and skills empowerment as well as financial literacy programs organized and promoted by the Commission to overseas Filipinos (OFs).

First Secretary and Consul General Roderico C. Atienza delivered congratulatory remarks on behalf of Philippine Ambassador to Korea Raul S. Hernandez comparing the project with one of the engines of South Korea’s rapid economic development, the Saemaeul Movement, a political initiative that sought to modernize the rural economy in the 1970s.

Participants, guests and organizers of the project launching of the Regional Programme on Remittances and Diaspora Investment for Rural Development in South Korea, including the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) Network and ACCESS Advisory, led by Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) Chair Imelda M. Nicolas and Roderico C. Atienza, First Secretary and Consul General of the Philippine Embassy in Seoul (seated front, 4th and 3rd, respectively), pose for a souvenir photo at the Ramada Encore Dongdaemun Hotel on 29 May 2016.

For his part, Roel B. Martin, Chief Labor and Employment Officer of the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO), underscored the importance for Filipinos to help the country by preparing for their eventual return to the Philippines by investing their savings into worthwhile projects at home.

The Regional Programme, which was first launched in Nepal in April 2015 and in the Philippines in February this year, also received official messages of support from Nestor A. Espenilla, Deputy Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and Orlando R. Ravanera, Chairman of the Cooperative Development Authority under the Department of Finance in addition to CFO and DOLE-NRCO.

NATCCO is the biggest cooperative federation of 760 cooperatives and NGOs in 77 provinces and 130 cities in the Philippines. ACCESS Advisory is a non-stock, non-profit consulting firm registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The 10 coops were chosen from the NATCCO Network to provide savings, and financial products and services to OFs and their families.

The launching, which took place one week after a similar activity in Kuala Lumpur on May 22, concludes the first wave of promotion events to two overseas Filipino communities envisioned to orient key Filipino community leaders about the project and improve their awareness of cooperatives as legitimate and stable financial institutions deserving of their personal investment.

An open-forum, consolations, presentations and a working session followed the formal launching ceremony, allowing representatives of the 10 stakeholder cooperatives to understand and appreciate the condition of the various types of Filipino residents in Korea, as well as improve and firm-up their strategies and schedules for financial literacy programs and other product offerings.

OFs in South Korea could opt, through the project, to become members of relevant cooperatives, which in turn would allow them access to education for better understanding of personal finance; building cash asset through share capital; and purposive, long-term savings.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized UN agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries, is providing funding to enable the project partners to build the capacity of the primary cooperatives to deliver quality financial education, as well as develop responsive long-term savings and wealth- building products for OFs and their families.

The NATCCO and ACCESS Advisory signed an MOU on the Regional Programme with the CFO, while a similar agreement with government-owned Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) as partner remittance bank is expected to be concluded soon. Coordination meetings are also being held with DOLE-affiliated agencies, namely the NRCO, the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), said NATCCO officials.

Among the Filipino leaders and groups that attended were radio commentator Gennie Kim, the United Filipinos in Korea (UFILKOR), Bucheon Filipino Migrants, the Association of Filipino Educators in Korea (AFEK), Philippine Engineers Association in Korea (PEAK), Incheon Catholic International Community and the Cordillera Brotherhood Organization, among others.

Source: Asian Journal

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