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Brigette E. Magoncia, a resident of Libertad, Butuan City, is one of the twenty-nine (29) recipients of the Special Livelihood Project (SLP) for Household Service Workers (HSWs) and other Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from the Caraga region.

Magoncia, an OFW, was able to complete her overseas employment contract upon her return to the Philippines in July 2019. Despite her desire to continue working abroad, her family in the Philippines required her attention due to a personal matter. Her employer, who had a kind heart and had been understanding of her circumstances, permitted her to return to the Philippines. Before she came home, her employer issued her a reference letter outlining all of her good deeds and highlighting all of OFW Magoncia's positive qualities and attributes in case she opted to work overseas again with a new employer. OFW Magoncia worked for her for 6 years and was a fantastic employee to her family, especially her children, according to her employer's letter.

Bridgette learned a lot as a mom and as an individual as a result of her experience abroad and being apart from her family. Despite feeling exhausted and homesick at times, as well as having no one to talk to about her problems, she remains committed to completing her tasks and being a trustworthy employee to her employer.

When OFW Magoncia returned to the Philippines, she opened a sari-sari store with the money she had saved while working abroad. Her small business has provided a steady stream of money for her family. When she heard about the SLP-HSWs project, she tried to apply and prepared all of the required documents. As per evaluation, she qualifies and received Php 10,000 as additional capital to her existing sari-sari store, for which she is grateful and expresses her gratitude for being one of the recipients and hope to receive another round of assistance in order to establish additional business undertaking. “To the OWWA Directors and staff, thank you for this opportunity na binigay ninyo sa amin,sana madagdagan pa sa sunod para maidagdag ko sa puhunan na maktayo nang ibang negosyo in the future. I salute!!!” Bridgette shared.

Despite the pandemic, her sari-sari store is doing quite well, with a monthly earning of Php15,000 on average. With the assistance she receives, she expands her sari sari store to sell other goods such as fruits, and to keep her modest business afloat, she keeps in mind to keep her capital rolling, bringing patience and dedication to her small business.

Under the aforementioned project, OWWA-NRCO Caraga released Php 290,000 to 29 beneficiaries in 2021. Three (3) active OWWA members received Php20,000 each, while the remaining twenty-three (23) inactive OWWA members each received Php10,000.

The implementation of the Special Livelihood Project (SLP) for Household Service Workers (HSWs) and Other Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) is a continuous response of OWWA to the socio-economic crises being experienced by OFWs due to the COVID-19 global health pandemic. The project aims to provide livelihood financial assistance to support OFW-members who finished their overseas employment and plan to start, restore or expand livelihood/business. (END/AJMH)