190723 paul raymund cortes
From left: Paul Raymund Cortes, welfare officer Danilo Flores and Lowella Recto, Pag-IBIG representative. Image Credit: Janice Ponce de Leon/Gulf News

Dubai: If you’re a Filipino and you’re looking for proven ways to protect your income, eliminate debt, make more money, engage in legal investment schemes and even get funding for it, you can learn all this for free right here in Dubai.

The Philippine Consulate-General on Tuesday announced the launch of its third Financial Literacy (FinLit) programme beginning August to help Filipinos manage their finances and empower them to become successful entrepreneurs.

The FinLit programme boasts of a year-long calendar of activities starting with saving, budgeting and debt management in August, to insurance and investments to franchising, exporting, agribusiness and more.

Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes said the programme is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s call during his State of the Nation Address on Monday to provide avenues that will promote inclusive growth across the country.

Cortes said he aims for the programme to be part of their legacy project to benefit not only Filipinos in the UAE now but even those who will come here in the years to come.

“We’re hoping to institutionalise this year-long financial literacy programme so it can be implemented by the future heads of mission and heads of attached agencies. The influx of overseas Filipino workers [OFWs] continues, hence the need for a far-reaching and more strategic FinLit programme,” Cortes said.

Cortes urged OFWs to start learning the foundations of wealth generation or personal finance — saving, budgeting and debt elimination — before jumping into the world of business and investing.

“We want to build a new class of entrepreneurs. OFWs traditionally invest in small grocery stores, taxis and tricycles. While these are laudable, there are other business opportunities that they can venture into that are profitable, sustainable, job-generating and production-based,” Cortes said.

Vice Consul Elizabeth Picar Ramos said their aim is to make Filipinos better equipped to choose the best business ventures available to ensure the sustainability of their enterprise.

“We really want to not just to equip our OFWs with appropriate information so they could make sound financial decisions but also show them the ropes of investing and where best to invest. We’d like them to be able also to contribute to nation-building because we want to create a new base of OFW-entrepreneurs who would invest in their nation,” Ramos said.

Ramos said business leaders, experts, and officials from the Philippines will be tapped on all year long to share their best practices with FinLit students.

Labour Attache Felicitas Bay said students will learn how to conduct feasibility studies and draft business plans that can be submitted to participating government agencies like the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, among others, for Landbank’s approval to avail of business loans of between 100,000 pesos to one million pesos (Dh71,800).

Fact File
What: Financial Literacy Programme 2019-2020

Where: Philippine Consulate General

When: Fridays (Specific dates to be announced via Consulate’s website and social media)

Admission: Free; Pre-registration required.

Year-Long Financial Literacy Programme:

August 23, 2019: Saving, Budgeting, Debt Management by the Philippine Consulate

August 2019: Insurance and Investment (Social Security System, Pag-Ibig, etc) by the Philippine Consulate

September 2019: Basic Exporting of Lifestyle Products by the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre (PTIC)

October 2019: Franchising 101 by the PTIC

November 2019: Agri-business (marine) by the Department of Agriculture (DA)

January 2020: Government Reintegration Programme by the Philippine Overseas Labour Office and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration

February 2020: Basic Exporting of Food Products by PTIC

March 2020: Agri-business (land) by DA

April 2020: Seminar on the Innovation and the Philippine Start-up Industry by PTIC

May 2020: Basic Exporting of Personal Care Products by PTIC