Church’s ‘money literacy’ program targets OFW kin

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MANILA, Oct. 22, 2014—The Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has raised the alarm on the longstanding problem of financial mismanagement among many Filipinos economically dependent on the remittances of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) family member, offering a solution to help them cope with this issue.

In 2012, an estimated 10.5 million Filipinos are either working or living outside the country, according to the Commission on Overseas Filipinos (COF). (Photo: CBCP News)

Fr. Resty Ogsimer, executive secretary of CBCP-ECMI, shared recently in an interview over Catholic radio station Veritas 846, that the Church has a program that aims to educate relatives of migrant workers on how to manage the money they receive, with emphasis on “spending wisely” and “saving”.

“First, what we do is to make them appreciate the value of financial literacy, the benefits of handling their finances. Then, we also teach relatives of migrant workers to live only within their means, encouraging them to set something aside for themselves,” he said.

The priest stressed saving money must be a priority among families of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), many of whom are “one-day millionaires”.

According to him, having money in the bank will reduce the amount of time an OFW will have to spend toiling abroad.

“We found out it’s immaterial whether an OFW sends P100,000 or P10,000 home. They’re basically the same. What matters is OFW families are able to adjust their lifestyle to the remittance they get,” Ogsimer added.

He pointed out, however, that migration is a national phenomenon that involves, not only OFWs, but also poor people from the provinces who flock to Metro Manila and other urban centers to seek employment—something scarcely available in their hometowns.

Based on data provided by the Commission on Overseas Filipinos (COF) in 2012, an estimated 10.5 million Filipinos are either working or living outside the country.

In a May 16, 2013 speech, America magazine quoted Pope Francis as saying, “Money has to serve, not to rule.”

The Holy Father added, “We have created new idols. The golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.” (Raymond A. Sebastián)




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