x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UAE Filipinos encouraged to save and invest

Atikha, a non-government organisation in the Philippines, is launching the 'Pinoy Wise Movement' to encourage Filipinos in the UAE to save and invest.

ABU DHABI // A campaign in the Philippines to teach migrants how to better manage their money is available for Filipinos in the UAE.

Atikha, a non-government organisation, provides economic and social services to overseas workers and their families in the Philippines.

"One problem in migration that we are trying to address is the never-ending cycle of dependency of migrants' families who are left behind," said Estrella Dizon-Anonuevo, executive director of Atikha.

"The families stop working so income in the Philippines ceases, breeding a culture of dependency."

Ms Dizon-Anonuevo is in Abu Dhabi to promote the official launch of Atikha's Pinoy Wise Movement, a campaign to encourage Filipinos and their families to save and invest, at an event to be held on November 23 at the Abu Dhabi National Theatre.

A Dubai event is scheduled for November 30 at The Philippine School.

Migrant leaders within the community have conducted 20 seminars and workshops on saving, investing and borrowing money in the UAE since February last year.

Melchor Peralta, 52, a civil engineer has lived in Abu Dhabi since 2008. The lack of high-paying jobs in the Philippines forced the father of four to work in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE for past 15 years.

He plans to retire in four or five years and settle in Cavite City, south of Manila, using his savings.

"Many Filipinos here don't know how to manage their finances," said Mr Peralta, who attended an Atikha financial-literacy course at the Twenty First Century Private Academy in January this year.

"Unlike Indians who invest in gold, we love to spend on the latest electronic gadgets."

Grace Princesa, the Philippine ambassador to the UAE, said: "It appears that the savings mentality among Filipino migrants is low. The rate is about 30 to 40 per cent.

"It reflects a seeming lack of preparedness to reintegrate with their communities back home."

Debt-related charges make up the second highest number of cases among Filipinos in jails in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, next to breaches of morality laws.

Ms Dizon-Anonuevo said the Pinoy Wise Movement taught migrants to budget and set goals for the family while overseas.

"The social cost of migration drains the family's resources," she said.

"We provide the strategies on managing savings and investments for migrants to become successful upon their return to the Philippines."

rruiz@thenational.ae