18 February 2019, Manila, Philippines. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), together with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and BDO Foundation, forged a partnership to improve the financial literacy of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families. Dubbed as PiTaKa or “Pinansyal na Talino at Kaalaman”, this program aims to equip OFWs with the ability to better manage their remittances, get out of debt, set aside savings or make prudent investments, in preparation for a better life when they return home to the Philippines. The program also targets OFW families to sensitize them of the temporary nature of overseas employment, and encourage them to support their loved-ones by spending wisely, saving regularly and looking for ways to augment their family income.
During the program launch, heads and senior management of the BSP, OWWA and BDO Foundation signed a Memorandum of Agreement, affirming their commitment to implement the program. Over 200 stakeholders from the OFW community, government and private sectors witnessed the signing ceremony, and the preview of three entertaining videos with embedded financial literacy lessons and messages. These videos will be used as tools in the financial literacy sessions to be incorporated in Pre-Departure Orientation Seminars (PDOS) and Post-Arrival Orientation Seminars (PAOS) that all OFWs are required to attend. It will also be used during General Orientation for OFW Families. Session guides/training kits will be developed, and a Training of Trainers (TOT) will be conducted for OWWA trainers and OWWA-accredited PDOS/PAOS providers to ensure sustained and effective delivery of financial literacy lessons.
BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. noted that, “As remittances consistently account for 10% of the Philippine GDP, OFWs are indeed modern-day heroes. Yet we continue to hear stories of OFWs facing financial struggles. The PiTaKa program aims to change these sad stories into ones with happy endings – OFWs and their families living together in the Philippines, with the capability to sustain their financial health, and productively contribute to the national economy.”
OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac added that, “The PiTaKa campaign will complement the existing and current financial literacy initiatives, both of the government and private sector, by reinforcing a more “reachable”, “likeable” and “shareable” campaign. Together with the BSP and BDO Foundation, we will put emphasis on values formation, forming new and better financial behaviors, and developing positive attitude in dealing with money. It is about time that we change our cultural perspectives about money."
"Last year, we laid the groundwork for BDO Foundation's financial inclusion advocacy by forging ties with BSP and the Department of Education for the development of our financial education program for public schools," BDO Foundation President Mario A. Deriquito shared. "This year, in collaboration with BSP and OWWA, we are expanding the scope of our advocacy through a corporate citizenship initiative that benefits millions of migrant workers and their families in the Philippines. BDO Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of BDO Unibank, is deeply honored to partner with BSP and OWWA for this worthy cause. We are one with you in efforts to help improve the financial standing of Filipinos and contribute to the country's economic growth."
In 2018 alone, OFWs remitted more than US$ 26.0 billion, and continue to be major drivers of domestic demand. This makes them ideal beneficiaries of a targeted financial education program. The financial learning tools and sessions developed under PiTaKa are designed to fit the OFW psyche, with the ultimate objective of eventually changing financial behaviors, transitioning them from being big spenders, to becoming regular savers, investors, and even business owners. With PiTaKa, the BSP, OWWA and BDOF hope to enable a future where OFWs can come home permanently to enjoy financial freedom and the fruits of their labor.