DBP, Smart Team Up For P1-B Livelihood Program For OFWs
[JUNE 8, 2007/ MANILA] - State-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) has set up a P1 billion livelihood facility to benefit Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in partnership with the country’s leading wireless services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART).
DBP president and chief executive officer Reynaldo G. David said that the livelihood program, “DBP-Smart OFW I-net Negosyo—Negosyo Mo, Taya Ko,” will provide reintegration and entrepreneurship opportunities for OFWs via bank financing of Smart’s mini-Internet café package, the Smart Bro Computer Station.
“Through the program, OFWs will be able to invest their hard-earned money in a potentially lucrative business that will prepare them for their eventual retirement. Their beneficiaries back home will also become more self-sufficient with the additional income from the business, aside from the monthly remittance,” he added.
A first in the banking industry, the “DBP-Smart OFW I-net Negosyo—Negosyo Mo, Taya Ko” has been pre-marketed in the first week of May in Dubai, and number of OFWs have already signed up for the program.
“Our Smart Bro Computer Station package is very affordable for start-up entrepreneurs. OFWs and their beneficiaries can start their own one-PC mini-Internet rental shop. A bonus is an e-loading business, which we have conveniently bundled with this livelihood package. Beneficiaries will also be able to use the Internet to keep in touch with their loved ones abroad more often. We have subsidized the rate to encourage our OFWs to become entrepreneurs. Eventually, they can increase the number of PCs, if they wish to expand the business,” said Danilo J. Mojica, Smart Head for Wireless Consumer Division.
“The Smart Bro Computer Station package includes one brand new top-of-the-line desktop computer with a one-year limited warranty on the hardware, licensed Microsoft Operating System, one year unlimited Smart Bro wireless broadband Internet connection, streamers and flyers to promote the Internet rental service, and a cellular phone bundled with a retailer SIM with initial e-load value of P500 for e-loading business. OFWs may choose between a tri-band Nokia mobile phone, or the recently unveiled “3G-for-all” phone of the GSM Association—the LG KU250,” added Smart New Business Streams, Communities and Services Department Head Lito Villanueva.
The livelihood program is payable in 12 easy monthly installments which will paid by the OFW himself from wherever he is worldwide through the DBP EC Remit program. The loanable amount already includes the subscription to Smart Bro, affordable interest rates, and mortgage redemption insurance. Monthly payments may be coursed through DBP partner remittance and exchange companies.
To qualify, an OFW must have at least one year of guaranteed work contract or a work visa that is valid for the next 12-month period. Other needed documents include POEA registration document and/or OWWA membership ID; photocopy of valid passport; and photocopy of valid work visa. The forms and documents should be submitted to the Negosyo Coordinators or DBP overseas marketing representatives in the country where they are working.
To apply for the loan package, OFWs may visit the DBP Remittance Center at the DBP Head Office in Makati City, or the Bank’s subsidiaries and tie-ups abroad.
Smart has been providing wireless broadband Internet access nationwide through its subsidiary, Smart Broadband, Inc. (SBI). As of end-March 2007, Smart Bro subscribers number more than 163,000.
Also early this year, Smart and DBP entered into a strategic partnership that will push for the use of mobile commerce in delivering financial services for small and medium enterprises, migrant workers, microfinance institutions and other sectors.
Under the partnership, DBP will utilize Smart’s mobile commerce platform, the Smart Services Hub, in developing new remittance and financial services and products. The Smart Services Hub is Smart’s global financial and telecommunications services hub model based on its award-winning Smart Money electronic financial services platform.
Aside from mobile commerce applications for development financing, services for text-based remittances, mobile banking, payroll account management, mobile payments, e-wallet cards and text-based services are also in the works.
As the country's pre-eminent development financial institution, DBP is a major source of medium and long-term financing, particularly for small and medium-scale industries based in the countryside.
Last year, the Bank launched the DBP EC Remit program to provide OFWs with a secure, safe fast, easy, efficient, and reliable means to remit their hard-earned money to their designated beneficiaries in the Philippines through a combination of electronic-based and traditional remittance services. These include virtual payments, credit and debit card facilities, fund transfers and payments through ATMs, banks, and non-bank service providers, and door-to-delivery facilities.
In 2005, Smart launched the world’s first mobile phone-based remittance service called Smart Padala for Filipino migrant workers. Smart currently has over 26 million subscribers on its network, with 58% market share.