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Philippine Ambassador Crescente R Relacion administering the oath to Filipino Investors and Entrepreneurs Movement officials during the ‘Wealth Conference 01’, at Copthorne Hotel Doha, yesterday. Kammutty V P
BY RAYNALD C RIVERA
DOHA: A Filipino financial literacy advocacy group has called on their compatriots to turn from being overseas workers to investors and entrepreneurs in their home country.
“Our mission is to change Filipinos from being a spender to saver to investor and entrepreneur,” said Paul Gamboa, founder of Overseas Filipino Investors and Entrepreneurs Movement (OFIE-M). Gamboa was speaking at the first-ever ‘Wealth Conference .01’ organised by their group yesterday at Copthorne Hotel. “Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t have. Create a balanced lifestyle, enjoying and multiplying what you have responsibly and with accountability,” he advised the attendees at the seminar.
He proposed creating a profitable world-class business conglomerate owned and managed by Filipinos and operating in the Middle East. In surveys done by OFIE-M during their previous financial literacy seminars, only 40 percent of the participants had proper wealth mindset, noted Julius Labastida, President of OFIE-M. “Having financial resources is not enough; they have to be financially literate to decide on the right financial platform and product to make sure they invest their hard-earned money profitably and this can be done through seminars which we conduct,” said Labastida.
Some of the current members of OFIE-M have had bad experiences in investing their money, some even losing millions because of inexperience and lack of knowledge on investment thus the group was born.
“As practicing investors, we want to share our experiences to our fellow Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) here teaching them the formula to prosperity through proper allocation of money for their expenses and savings,” he said, adding they have to define their financial goals well and stick to them through financial planning. To share their experiences to more Filipinos, the group sought permission from the Philippine Embassy to conduct financial literacy trainings and since its establishment early last year, the group has conducted seminars to four batches, each with an average of 25 participants.
OFIE-M is seen as unique group which cuts across various sectors of the Filipino community as it is concerned with a common issue vital to every OFW. Its number of members has risen from 15 to over 100. Philippine Ambassador Crescente R Relacion lauded the unique role of the new organisation in instilling managerial and entrepreneurial skills to Filipinos here. Ambassador Relacion advised potential Filipino entrepreneurs to start in small businesses, be risk-takers but not hasty decision-makers and focus on a business they are passionate of. He said working abroad should not be a matter of necessity but a matter of choice.