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Plan, save for return home, finlit grads urged

02 June 2017

 Above, trainers graduating from trainors course pose with FinLit graduates. 

By Vir B. Lumicao

Overseas Filipino workers should not stay long in their place of work but instead plan how many contracts they will sign, and chart the future of their families to whom they will return one day, according to Consul General Bernardita Catalla.

She gave the advice to some 200 graduates of financial literacy courses at CARD Hong Kong who gathered for this year’s first graduation ceremony held at the Duke of Windsor Social Services Centre in Wanchai on Apr 30.

The 188 graduates represented four batches of trainees – from Batch 37 to 40 – who attended the one-day basic financial literacy (FinLit) course offered on Sundays by CARD free of charge at the Bayanihan Center in Kennedy Town.

From this basic course, the graduates can proceed to entrepreneurial courses where they are taught the nitty-gritty of owning, managing and growing a business.

Joining the FinLit graduates on stage were 11 graduates of the training course for trainers, which had 14 participants originally.

Catalla urged the graduates to implement all that they have learned from the short courses, and to share the knowledge and skills gained with their relatives back home.

For the new arrivals, it is important that they know what they spend on and to budget their money, said Catalla, as she advised them to save for their return home.

She also used the occasion to introduce the new deputy consul general, Roderico “Deric” Atienza, the former consul general in Seoul, Korea, whose post was taken over by his predecessor in Hong Kong, Christian “Kit” de Jesus.

The heads of each of the four batches gave testimonials on what they learned from the courses, as well as their expectations.

From Batch 37, Margarita Paclibar, the oldest graduate at 65, spoke of how she put up a rice cake, banana and camote cue business with a small capital before she came to Hong Kong. At first, it was profitable, but it eventually flopped for her lack of business know-how.

“Nang nasa Hong Kong na ako, niyaya ako ng aking kasama sa church na sumali sa CARD financial literacy. Magaling magturo at maliwanag ang kanilang explanation,” Paclibar said, thanking the volunteers and facilitators.

“Malaki na ang naiipon ko para sa negosyo. Kailangang pag-uwi ko next year, gagamitin ko ang akong natutuhan sa negosyo.”

Batch 38’s Genalyn Silvano said what she liked most was the lesson in rating one’s spending habits and distinguishing between needs and wants. She said she used to be an impulsive buyer who snapped up anything that attracted her even though she had no need for it. That attitude has been changed by the course, she said.

Trainor Rowena Rosales tearfully told her tale as an initial failure in Hong Kong and previously, a carefree drifter in the Philippines, as she was single, an orphan and had only one sibling.

She had been helping other people until she joined CARD and realized there were three person she had not helped – “me, myself and I”. She said she had learned a lot from CARD and that her training as trainor had taken away her stage fright. As a parting word she said: “Puwede tayong tumulong , pero tulungan muna natin ang mga sarili natin.”
CARD nanays Erlinda Labitorya and
Carmelita Aguilar, who shared their asuccess stories.

Two speakers who made the greatest impact on the audience, however, were “negosyo nanays” Erlinda Labitorya from Pangasinan and Carmelita Aguilar from Laguna, who were brought to Hong Kong by CARD MRI to address the graduates.

Labitorya said she was a poor housewife who borrowed Php2,000 to start a banana chips business behind her rented house some years ago. She took up a CARD entrepreneurial course where she learned how to run her business properly.

“Lumaki ang aking negosyo at nakabili ako ng house and lot, may tatlong sasakyan na ako. Dati ang factory ko ay nasa likod-bahay, nakabili ako ng lote at tinayuan ko ng factory ng banana chips,” Labitoria said. Her business was chosen this year as one of six regional winners in an industry awards event in Laguna.

Crying unabashedly, she said this was her first time to come to Hong Kong and fulfill her dream of going to Disneyland. “Wala akong pagsidlan ng saya,” she exclaimed.

Aguilar was not to be outdone. She said with the help of a Php5,000 loan and using discarded carton boxes and newspapers, she started a business making papier mache letter blocks for the US market.

Now that venture has become a P1 million business that provided jobs to people in her community in Pakil, Laguna, Aguilar said. Today, she owns a house and lot, a Hi-Ace van, a jeepney, two tricycles, 15 pigs and 13 cows.

“Akalain mo, entrepreneur na ako ngayon, kumpare ko pa si Mayor,” she exclaimed.

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