This article was written in collaboration with IdeaSpace Foundation Philippines, a non-profit organization running founder-focused programs for early-stage tech startup founders solving emerging market issues.
OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) are modern-day Filipino heroes and are considered strong pillars of the Philippine economy.
In the latest report by the World Bank, the Philippines was the fourth largest remittance recipient in 2020 with a total amount of $34.1 billion. These remittances from OFWs account for at least 9.2% of the country’s GDP, the second largest source of foreign capital, and a major source of private consumption within the country.
However, there is a social cost to this heroism.
On the average, OFWs are away from their families three times longer than they originally planned. This prolonged separation often disrupts their relationships with their family members. In some extreme cases, these remittances are spent on illegal vices leading to accumulated debts just to compensate for their irresponsible spending.
Thus, leaving OFWs with no choice but to leave the Philippines once again to provide for their daily needs. Unfortunately, this cycle continues for year— even decades for some families.
Beam and Go’s Mission
Since 2015, BeamAndGo has been aiming to close these gaps and solve these issues one step at a time.
This process begins with enabling and educating migrant workers, specifically OFWs, to achieve family resilience and financial security through a digital marketplace powered by fintech and an upskilling platform.
Aided by our products, tools, and services, over 290,000 OFWs can gain control of their finances, increase their financial capabilities, and possess entrepreneurial skills with continuing education and reseller programs, resulting in a successful repatriation back to the Philippines.
Modern Day Bayad Center
Throughout the years, OFWs have turned to BeamAndGo as an alternative to a physical remittance center, and it has slowly transformed into their “modern-bayad center.” The seamless cross border e-commerce platform allows OFWs to make purchases for their family back home, instead of simply sending cash. This ensures that their hard-earned money goes to where it’s intended, solving the problem of spending abuse. Most importantly, it ties the bond between OFWs and their families, making every member included in financial decisions despite the distance.
During the pandemic, BeamAndGo partnered up with SMEs and local brands to expand our product selection and offer door-to-door delivery of food, medicine, grocery, rice, and fresh goods, as well as health insurance plans, providing OFW families access to readily available medical attention in times of COVID and beyond.
Making a purchase is also made easier for unbanked OFWs with the continuing expansion of payment gateways across the world.
Financial Literacy for All
In 2021, BeamAndGo launched the BeamAndGo Academy – a series of free online financial literacy webinars where they invited advocates to speak and mentor OFWs community groups from Hong Kong and Singapore when it comes to savings, investment, budgeting, and making wise choices about their hard earned incomes.
This year, BeamAndGo also developed the BeAMillionaire Program that aims to help OFWs rebuild their lives affected by the pandemic, unleash their entrepreneurial skills, and provide them business opportunities by becoming a BeamAndGo reseller.
It also gives OFWs an extra leverage to reach their goals and aspirations within a shorter period. One testament of this is Sara Quesada’s BeAMillionaire journey wherein she banked her first million pesos through her earnings from the said program.
“A million pesos I earned from BeamAndGo, and a million thanks for being part of your reseller program,” she shared.
BeamAndGo values the sacrifices and contributions of every OFW. During these years, we heard their cries, we heard their stories. We have come to understand their hopes and dreams, their fears, their loneliness, and their desire to be back home with their families, and we are here to help them achieve family resiliency and financial security as they reach their next goals.
According to Solis, “Infrastructure should now be in place to address the accessibility of these payment channels after the two-year pandemic.” It’s also expected to have a surge of online transactions – such as OFW remittances – now that the economy has started to resume after its long pause.
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” – John Holmes
One of the main objectives of #ProjectKABAYANihan is to assist underprivileged Filipino families on their journey to new beginnings. These include combined efforts with various partner organizations to provide them with better solutions to improve their current living conditions.
These healthy food packs contain farm fresh goods like vegetables, fruits, and rice produce curated by a team of medical experts headed by Dr. Raymond Escalona, co-founder of WholeHealth Integrated Health Services. Meat and seafood products were also given to several households in Manila to ensure that they meet their families’ minimum daily caloric intake.
Beneficiaries were also taught on how they could strengthen their immune systems against COVID-19 and other similar diseases. These include long-term plans to overcome nutritional deficiencies among their family members through proper eating habits and lifestyle choices.
You too can be a part of our never-ending advocacy never stop reaching down and lift those in need of a helping hand. Visit this link to learn more details about our campaigns or contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org today.
Kasabay ng pandemya, kaliwa’t-kanan na rin ang diskarte ng Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) para ligtas na mapangalagaan at masuportahan ang pangangailangan ng pamilya sa Pilipinas, lalo na pagdating sa groceries.
At dahil Supermarkets ang isa sa COVID-19 high-risk places sa dami ng tao dito araw-araw, dapat maging doble-ingat tayo. Hindi naman pwedeng hindi na tayo mag-grocery shopping, ‘di ba? Buti na lang ngayon, wala na tayong dapat ikatakot dahil marami nang bagong paraan para mas masiguradong ligtas ang grocery shopping experience ng bawat mamayang Pilipino.
If your family and friends are located at the central business districts of Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, or Rizal, mas pinadali na for OFWs na maipa-experience ang premium and COVID-free grocery shopping at The Marketplace.
AngThe Marketplaceay kilala sa kanilang wide range of fresh, gourmet, beverage, and imported selections kaya naman hindi na kailangan ng OFW families na maghintay ng kalahating taon para sa padalang balikbayan box filled with imported goodies.
S’yempre, hindi ako magpapahuli na ma-experience ang bagong kinahuhumalingan ng OFWs and their families pagdating sa grocery shopping!
Since I reside in Pasig, dumeretso na ako sa nearest branch sa akin – The Grove which is located at 177 E. Rodriguez Ave, C-5, Pasig City. I was welcomed by the security guard, scanned the QR code for contact tracing, got my temperature checked, and cleaned my hands using their automatic alcohol dispenser – all contactless, all safe! Required rin ang face mask, and face shield para makapasok so I got myself equipped.
Pagpasok pa lang, bumungad na sa akin ang sari-saring imported products. Na-excite ako dahil marami sa produktong overseas ko lang nabibili ay available dito! Kaya dali-dali akong kumuha ng newly-sanitized shopping cart.
Wala pang ilang minuto, halos puno na ang shopping cart ko. ‘Di naman obvious na masyado akong natuwang mag-shopping dito, ‘no?
And here comes the most exciting part… ang bagong paraan ng pagbabayad.
Pagpunta ko sa cashier, instead na wallet ang ilabas ko, smartphone lang na may QR Codes. Pagkatapos ma-total ang pinamili ko, the QR codes were scanned, and voila! Uwian na!
Bagong-bagong form of grocery shopping ang na-experience ko pero I was so surprised na kahit first time kong mag-bayad this way, at bagong payment option ito ng The Marketplace, the transaction was fast, hassle-free, and most importantly, safe! Thanks to their very friendly and well-trained staff na talagang memoryado ang bawat produkto.
So, ang tanong, paano naging possible ang ganitong paraan?
If you haven’t heard about this easier, and safer way to take control of your remittance, let me introduce it to you.
Since 2015, Supermarket e-gift certificates na ang core product ngBeam&Go. Sa ganitong paraan, may kasiguraduhan ang bawat OFW na ang bawat padala nila ng pinaghirapang pera, deretso sa pangangailangan ng pamilya.
And with over 280,000 OFWs who trust Beam&Go, talaga namang Robinsons e-gift certificates ang most requested product. This 2021, the long wait is over because it’s now available at the Store, plus redeemable pa sa more than 20 Robinsons-affiliated Stores with over 2,000 branches nationwide – including Easymart, Shopwise, Handyman, Daiso Japan, and Savers Appliance!
So, how does grocery remittance to Robinsons work?
That’s it, Kabayan! Walang kahirap-hirap.
There’s no reason not to try grocery remittance to Robinsons. It was one of a kind experience for me and I’m more than excited for OFW families to finally try the newest product ofBeam&Go.
Walang mawawala. Mas panatag ka lang.
Higit sa lahat, you have one less thing to worry about. I-deretso na ang padala sa grocery needs nila thru Robinsons e-gift certificates at Beam&Go.
This pandemic indeed changed the way we live, and damaged a lot of lives in a short period of time.
Up to date, over 550,000 OFWs and seafarers are adversely affected. Thousands of them lost their jobs, and were sent home with nothing in their pocket. As a domino effect, their families who are solely dependent on them are also crying for help.
The country’s modern-day heroes are now the hurting heroes.
In our efforts to lend a helping hand to overseas Filipinos who are now suffering, Beam&Go officially launched an online donation campaign called “Project KABAYANihan: Be a HERO to OFWs in need” back in June 2020.
We were granted 3 months of donation permit by the DSWD, and within that period, we earned approximately Php 230,000 cash donations from Filipinos across the world, all of which are used to purchase over 4500 kilos of rice that benefit more than 900 families of distressed OFWs and seafarers, those who lost their jobs, or are affected by travel ban due to COVID-19 pandemic, victims of illegal recruitment, abuse and maltreatment, and retrenchment. The beneficiaries are under care of our partner institutions who tirelessly serve our Kababayans amid COVID – Blas Ople Policy Center, United Filipino Seafarers, and OFW Watch.
LET’S DO IT AGAIN THIS 2021…
This 2021, we strive to continue serving more OFW families thru this initiative. With the permission of DSWD, we are running Project KABAYANihanonce again, and this time, for the benefit of OFW families under care of new partner institutions:
OFWWATCH, a software program designed to link OFWs in distress, those calling for help, anywhere in the world, anytime of the day, via mobile.
COMPASS, a simplified and unified platform dedicated to Global Migrant Workers, their families and friends ensuring a safe journey at all times.
Marikina Overseas Family Circle Association Incorporated (MOFCAI) is a non-government organization looking after the welfare of the families of OFWs and ex-OFWs in NCR.
2 WAYS TO DONATE TO OFWS IN NEED
For as low as ₱255 for 5kg of rice, you can already make a huge difference to an OFW family’s life.
In 1965, Estrella and Eugenio B. Chua left Bacolod, Philippines and moved to New York. Eugenio, a fresh medical school graduate, was starting a 2-year medical internship at Cumberland Hospital1 in Brooklyn.
They left behind their parents, their sisters and brothers, their friends, and their 1-year-old daughter. Both barely spoke English and this trip was their first outside of the Philippines. They were alone and uncertain of what was next.
The plan was to complete the medical internship and move back to the Philippines and work in hospital in Bacolod or start a medical private practice.
At Cumberland hospital, none of Eugenio’s colleagues knew how to pronounce his name, so they just called him Gene. Gene proved to be a sure-footed, competent doctor, with a knack for being spot-on with his diagnosis. After the 2-year internship, the hospital offered him a permanent position. Gene accepted, and over the next 20 years, Gene went on to become Director of Pediatrics, Hematology, and Oncology at Cumberland Hospital and Brooklyn Hospital.
During this time, Estrella gave birth to two more children – a son and a daughter. She took care of the home, did “mom” things, and learned how to cook, eventually becoming renowned for her steamed fish, oxtail stew, and mah-kee pork soup.
In the mid-1970s, Estrella, Gene, and their children moved to Long Island, where Estrella and Gene started a private Pediatrics practice. Estrella was responsible for the front-of-the-house, acting as the glue that kept the whole office running smoothly. Gene took temperatures, prescribed medicine, and re-assured the patient’s parents, “don’t worry, everything will be fine”.
Gene continued to work at the hospital, splitting his time between Brooklyn and Long Island till the end of the 1980s. The medical practice thrived, and in over 40 years, together, Estrella and Gene treated tens of thousands of children.
With the path set by Estrella and Gene, family members and friends migrated to the New York City area. The social circle widened. Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners became big events at their house. The loneliness and fear of being away from their family in the Philippines was replaced with a sense of belonging in the US. Estrella and Gene were Americans now.
And they shared their good fortune with their families back home. Eugenio bought a house for his mom. They sent money to support their first daughter’s education and everyday expenses. They funded their sibling’s college education and sponsored their sibling’s migration to the US. When there was a physical, economic, or medical crisis, they sent money “back home”.
In the early years, Estrella and Gene would visit Bacolod every other year. Then as the years passed, the visits decreased. Their last visit to Bacolod was in 2013. They never moved back.
It has been 56 years since Estrella and Gene left the Philippines. Both are no longer with us. Estrella passed away in 2014 and Gene passed away in 2020.
That move in 1965 from Bacolod to Brooklyn directly affected the lives of many people, including me. I am their son. Estrella and Gene were my parents; their hard work and sacrifice gave me the opportunities to live the life I live now; they instilled in me the importance of education, hard work, and perseverance; and they shaped my moral compass and my belief that “we’re all in this together”.
The More Things Change
Like my mom and dad many years before, Filipinos continue to leave the Philippines to work abroad, in Singapore, Hong, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and the US.
In 2019, it is estimated that 2.2 million Filipino migrant workers work overseas2. In the Philippines, these migrant workers are referred to as “Overseas Filipino Workers” or OFWs.
Because of economic hardship and a dearth of decent-paying jobs, OFWs leave the Philippines and take on any type of work that is available. In many cases, OFWs are over-qualified for the overseas jobs they accept.
Unlike my dad’s time when doctors, scientists, architects, and engineers lead the migration, these days the major occupations for OFWs are domestic helpers, service staff, medical staff (nurses), shipmates, and factory workers. Close to 97% are working on an existing contract3.
In many countries, OFWs are not afforded the same legal, financial, and work-related rights afforded their host country’s citizens and long-term permanent residents. Employee abuse, lack of due process, and deportation are everyday threats that OFWs face. In addition, a path to citizenship is non-existent.
The main method for supporting their family remains the same: sending money (aka “remittance”).
Over the last 50 years, the mechanism for sending money has evolved for the better. Remittance centers, like Western Union, and digital wallet have capitalized on the internet, digitization, and crypto currencies to improve the speed of fund transfers, reducing the transfer time down to within 24 hours. And with new players entering the remittance market, the increased competition has lowered cable charges and transaction fees.
In 2019, OFWs remitted over USD$30 billion back to the Philippines4, representing 8% of the Philippines economy5.
In the provincial and rural areas where jobs employment opportunities are scarce, OFW remittances are critical to the welfare of the whole population. The reliance on OFWs is so pronounced that they are referred to as The Philippines “modern-day heroes” 6.
But have the lives of OFWs and their family improved?
For my mom and dad, they remained in the US because of the opportunities they were given during their initial 2 years in the US. My father’s medical skills were noticed and valued, and he was offered a permanent position at the hospital. The remitted funds to the Philippines were mostly used for basic needs, educations, and medical issues. The result was everyone was well-fed, they had a roof over their heads, and the education led to jobs and successful businesses.
For many current OFWs, when their 2-year contract is completed, they often find that they did not save enough money; because of inadequate financial literacy, their family expenses have increased, and they have incurred debt; and the job opportunities back in the Philippines have not improved.
An OFW’s best option is to renew their contract or seek another employer. As a result, they continue to be away from their families; they continue to be regarded as 2nd class citizens in their host countries; and they continue to be at the mercy of their employer.
I’m a Dad Now
In 2011, I became a dad. My daughter means the world to me. We play chess, thumb wrestle, and continuously try to prank each other. I watch her practice jiujitsu, do gymnastics, and tap dance. And during the school year, I help quiz her on spelling every week. She is a big part of my life.
Before COVID-19, I did my fair share of business travelling: Manila, Davao, Taipei, Tokyo, Hong Kong. Most of those trips last about 3 days, but I would try to shorten them as much as I can. Cause when I am the plane, about to take off, I miss my kid so much. And during the trip, I miss her even more and cannot wait to get back home. That is my state of mind on a 3-day business trip. Only 3 days.
A typical OFW has children. Their contract is usually for 2 years. 2 years away from their family and their children!
And as mentioned above, an OFW usually extends her contract when it is completed. 2 years become 4 years. 4 years becomes 10 years. 10 years becomes 20 years.
That is a real sacrifice and real heartbreak.
I have met OFWs in Singapore who started on a 2-year contract and have stayed in Singapore for nearly 20 years. In one case, an OFW left the Philippines a few months after she gave birth to her son. She would only see him for a few weeks during her bi-annual visits back home. She even missed seeing him graduate from high school. Her only comfort is that she knows her years of sacrifice and hard work contributed to his successful high school graduation.
This is sad. This is a shame. “Modern day heroes” should not have to suffer like this.
An OFW’s path to a successful repatriation back to the Philippines is not always a given and that is also sad and is a shame.
Let’s Change This
Yes, let us change this!
Let us think through the problems that an OFW face and help her leverage the 2-year contract (and all the sacrifice and hard work that goes into it) into a better life for her and her whole family.
Over the next 12 months, I will be publishing 6 articles, sharing my ideas and thoughts on how an OFW can stack-the=deck in her favor with tools to control her finances, supplement her income, participate in savings plans, build her credit rating, and upskill.
The articles will be “food for thought” on how we can lead a movement that results in an OFW landing back in the Philippines with a decent nest egg and hold down a good paying job or operate a sustainable business.
This OFW “journey” will banish the idea that being an OFW is a way of life. Instead, being an OFW should be a mere stepping stone to a better future.
In the next article, I will tackle the issue of responsible spending. Stay tuned.
About the Author
Jonathan E. Chua is the son of Estrella and Dr. Eugenio B. Chua. He grew up in New York, graduated from Colgate University, and now lives in Singapore. Currently, Jonathan is the CEO of BeamAndGo Pte Ltd (Beam&Go).
Beam&Go enables and educates migrant workers to achieve family resiliency and financial security through an inclusive marketplace and financial ecosystem. Beam&Go is a UNICEF & ING Baring Fintech for Impact 2020 Grant awardee and a 2020 Asia Pacific Social Innovation Partnership Award winner.
Jonathan has two dreams. He wants to lead the positive change that will uplift the dignity and lives of every migrant worker, their family, and their future generations. And within his lifetime, he wants to see the New York Knicks win another NBA Championship.
Feel free to email Jonathan at email@example.com.
Hong Kong OFWs have always been one of the VIPs ofBeamAndGo. They’re always the most active Beamers, kaya naman we make sure to visit and have fun with them at least every year! Tuwing Kapangyawan Festival, automatic, kasama d’yan ang BeamAndGo!
Hindi man tayo magkakasama-sama this year dahil sa pandemic, we still want to make sure to give you special treats, and this time, it’s in partnership with HK OFWs’ go-to mobile app when it comes to money transfer – TNG Wallet!
For 2 MONTHS beginning July 31, 2020, feel free to enjoy 5% OFF + 5% CASHBACK on your BeamAndGo purchases para sa pamilya sa Pilipinas when you checkout using your TNG Wallet or TNG Mastercard!
Select your beneficiary’s location and choose your desired product/s
Enter “TNG5” as your promo code
Select TNG Wallet at checkout to pay using your TNG Account or
Choose Credit/Debit Card via Paypal and use your TNG Mastercard to pay.
Terms and Conditions: 1. Promo runs from July 31, 2020 – September 30, 2020 2. Promo code is valid for one-time use only 3. 5% discount is applicable to participating products:
Bigas Padala (All Variants)
Online Palengke (Metro Manila and Cebu City delivery)
Food Padala (For Pick-up and Delivery)
Kusina Ni Nanay Package
4. 5% instant cashback applies to purchases worth Php 1000 and up only 5. Earned cashback credits can be used as discount in succeeding BeamAndGo purchases. Unused cashback credits will expire after 1 year 6. Promo exclusive to TNG Wallet and TNG Mastercard payments only
In view of on-going calamity in Batangas, BeamAndGo, together with our kababayans across the world, would like to extend support to help communities affected and displaced by Taal Volcano eruption with #BeThereForBatangas – Grocery Package for a Cause.
1. Simply purchase BeamAndGo 2020 Celebration Package thru www.BeamAndGo.com for only Php 2699 (from original price of P3299) for your family in the Philippines until January 31, 2020.
2. 100% of BeamAndGo‘s profit in every purchase will fund the relief goods which will be sent to support the needs of those affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.
3. BeamAndGo will personally prepare and pack goods (bottled water, rice, instant and cup noodles, canned goods, biscuits and crackers, hygiene kits, etc.) and distribute to eruption victims at a chosen evacuation area in Batangas on February 2020.
Taal Volcano erupted on January 12, 2020 which caused ash to spew in various provinces and areas including Calabarzon, Metro Manila, and Central Luzon. Communities within 14-km radius of the volcano have been forced to evacuate due to possible very dangerous eruption, ballistic projectiles, base surges, and volcanic tsunami following the eruption at any time. Alert Level 4 is still raised on Taal Volcano up to date.
Together, let’s join hands to aid the victims of Taal unrest. Become a part of the campaign today. Send a BeamAndGo 2020 Celebration package at www.BeamAndGo.com.
Yung tipong nung bago pa lang siya o ikaw mangibang bansa, okay naman kayo ng partner mo pero kinalaunan, nagkaka-labuan na?
O baka may kilala kang nagpapanggap na single sa abroad kahit kasal na sa Pilipinas? Ginagawang libangan ang pagkikipag-chat sa iba hanggang sa mauwi na sa seryosohan?
Aminin man natin o hindi, kahit kanino nangyayari ito!
Masakit at mahirap iwasan, pero pwedeng solusyonan.
Cheating or infidelity has been cited as the greatest challenge for OFWs according to Davao Catholic Herald. At ano ang karaniwang kinahahantungan nito? Ang ibang pamilya, nagugulat na lang na hindi na nagpapadala ng pera si kabayan – or worse, ni wala nang paramdam. On the other hand, maya’t maya namang ubos ang padala ni kabayan dahil sa pagwawaldas ng pinapadalhan sa Pinas! Ni hindi na alam ni Kabayan kung ano ba talaga ang nangyayari at kung saan napupunta ang padala.
Ang tanong – BAKIT NANGYAYARI ITO? Pero ang mas dapat na masagot – PAANO ITO SOSOLUSYONAN?
Mahirap mang tanggapin, ito ang katotohanang pinagdaraanan ng karamihan sa ating mga kababayan. GISING! ‘Wag na nating paabutin sa ‘di magandang kahihinatnan! Your BeamerKada‘s got some TIPS for OFWs on why cheating happens and how to handle this issue on the premier episode ofPAYONG KABIGAN!
OO! Pati ang pagsisinungaling pagdating sa pera-padala is another form of cheating na patuloy na binibigyang solusyon ngBeamAndGo! Kung ‘di mo pa nasusubukan, umpisahan mo na ngayon! Register for free at www.beamandgo.com and together, let us END CHEATING!
PAALALA lang, ha? Ito’y payong kaibigan.
Marami pa tayong pag-uusapan sa Payong Kaibigan so make sure to 👍LIKE, 🔴SUBSCRIBE and hit the 🔔BELL BUTTON on our
Raffle draw live be done via FB Live on November 15, 2019 (Friday).
The prize will be delivered to the winners’ chosen beneficiary beginning December 1.
Both the purchased package and prize will not be certainly delivered at the same time.
Draw winner will be notified via registered email andBeamAndGo Facebook page announcement.
If the purchase is made thruBeamAndGo Sales Agent/ Remittance Partner, name of beneficiary will be indicated on the raffle entry instead. In case the raffle entry with the beneficiary name wins, a BeamAndGorepresentative shall contact both the beneficiary and the Agent/Remitance Partner to verify the sender’s (winner’s) details
Be there this Christmas! 🎅🎄
Make your presence felt wherever you may be by sending your family a Noche Buena package.
With 25 must-have items to create your family’s favorite Noche Buena feast.
✉️ FREE Christmas card to greet your loved ones
🍺 FREE BeamAndGoexclusive mug
📦 Securely packed in a box with Christmas wrapping
Guaranteed delivery to your family’s doorstep before Christmas Eve!
Pre-order now, save 10% off the original price, and earn 1 raffle entry here.
Ano pang hinihintay mo, Kabayan? Mas merry na ang Christmas ng pamilya, dodoblehin pa ngBeamAndGo ang matatanggap nilang Package!