A cooperative of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) will offer alternative and digital livelihood to displaced migrant employees due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a report of the Department of Labor and Employment, the number of repatriated workers has reached 600,000 as of mid-August.
Ekolife Overseas Filipinos Worldwide (OFW) Marketing Cooperative, which is owned and operated “by the OFWs and families for the OFWs and families”, hopes to help in their transition back to their home country by opening livelihood opportunities to both members and nonmembers of the cooperative.
“Our group hopes to extend as much assistance to as many OFWs affected by the situation,” said by Mai Dizon-Anonuevo, executive director of Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiative, which oversees and manages the social enterprise. “We see the digital course as the easiest and most cost-efficient way to enable our beneficiaries at the soonest time.”
One of the “kabuhayan packages” to be offered by Ekolife OFW to their beneficiaries consists of a mobile store and a handheld automated teller machine service called ATM Go including digital financial services through RCBC’s DiskarTech super app.
“We have observed how RCBC’s digital products have become a lifeline during these difficult times,” said Lito Villanueva, executive vice president and chief innovation and inclusion officer of RCBC.
“ATM Go has been instrumental in the continued availability of important financial services during the height of the lockdown. As of end August, it has disbursed over P3.6 billion to more than 1.4 million families nationwide using their Pantawid Pamilya Cash Cards and other ATM cards issued by other banks.”
ATM Go is a digital product of RCBC that uses a mobile point of sale (mPOS) device to facilitate financial transactions on behalf of customers. Among the services provided by the country’s neighborhood ATM are balance inquiry, cash deposit, withdrawal, fund transfer, and purchase of electronic load.
The mPOS terminals accept any prepaid, debit or ATM card issued by financial institutions supervised by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Meanwhile, among the items included in the mobile store are agri-products, processed food, and virgin coconut oil wellness merchandise.
Aside from ATM Go, Ekolife OFW is also tapping RCBC’s DiskarTech as a payment platform for the beneficiaries’ new business ventures. Aside from mobile stores, the cooperative also offers livelihood trainings and packages for cafe and milk tea shop ventures.
Through DiskarTech, new store owners will be able to accept cashless payments through their own unique QR codes. The received monetary value will then be automatically deposited to their basic deposit accounts that earn a competitive 3.25% annual interest.
Aside from its deposit feature, OFW entrepreneurs will also be treated to a suite of helpful services available in the app, such as bills payment, fund transfers, telemedicine, airtime top-up, and purchase of gaming pins, microloans and sachet insurance, among others. Soon, a skills marketplace will also be made available.
Interested OFWs may reach any municipal chapter of Ekolife Pook Tulungan to apply.