12 May 2021
La Trinidad, Benguet –The Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Innovations for Filipinos Working Distantly from the Philippines (iFWD PH) program is the agency’s answer to the call to support returning OFWs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
DOST-CAR, under the leadership of Regional Director Nancy Bantog, provides innovation support and opportunities for pandemic-affected OFWs in order for them to establish technology-based enterprises right at the comfort of their home provinces.
“This is our response to the challenges faced by OFWs who were affected by the pandemic,” said Dir. Bantog in a statement. “We will continue to work hard—and work together—to advance the livelihood of our modern-day heroes,” she added.
It can be recalled that on 29 May 2020, DOST launched the said project on a live virtual presser through the DOST-Philippines Facebook page.
The first project under the iFWD PH program in CAR was launched on May 11, 2021 in Luna, Apayao with the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) of the Hachloley Caluducan Curtains and Beddings, managed by former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Mrs. Joanna Marie Caluducan, to enhance and market curtains and beddings accented with woven fabrics of the yApayaos.
Having completed the Phase 1 (capability-building), where the firm was guided on how to establish and maintain their business, Hachloley Caluducan Curtains and Beddings will now be provided the innovation-Enabling Fund (iFund) for entrepreneurship. This is Phase 2 of the program that includes the provision of technical training, product development and market testing, operational consultancy services, packaging and labeling design and equipment acquisition. Likewise, the DOST’s e-commerce OneSTore hub, will also be tapped to promote and sell their products online.
For CY 2021, there are a total of 8 applicants for the program from the region, with one (1) each from Abra, Apayao, Kalinga and Mt. Province; and two (2) each from Benguet and Ifugao. All these firms are currently undergoing a Training on Business Core Development to prepare them for jumpstarting their respective businesses.//Christian Robert Sandoval