In 2018, through the initiative of Center for Migrant Advocacy, the Local Government and Public Employment Services Office of Laur, Nueva Ecija, eleven (11) OFW Family Circle (OFC) barangay associations were established and registered individually with the Department of Labor and Employment. The following year, the associations decided to form a federation, where they appointed Mrs. Elisa D. Untal & Mrs. Rowena Batucan, OFC barangay leaders, as the President & Vice-President respectively. They registered the federation with DOLE and secured a Certificate of Accreditation from the Sangguniang Bayan that same year.

The group did not have any livelihood activities for more than 2 years until they have learned about DTI’s programs and assistance to MSMEs. To create sustainability among the group, representatives of the OFC visited the recently launched DTI Negosyo Center in Laur, Nueva Ecija on November of 2021. Business Counselor Jeremy Ian cheerfully welcomed them and conducted a business consultation and discussed the different programs and services of DTI that will cater their needs. A month after the visit, NC Laur successfully conducted a skills training on making dishwashing liquid, fabric conditioners, and powdered detergents. With the newly-acquired skills, OFC was able to start an income-generating business for a couple of months. However, due to lack of support and interest from its members, especially on production and marketing, the said venture did not last that long. To seek other means of livelihood, selected members from the barangay OFC association were able to gain new skills on making calamansi and camias-based processed products, Through the assistance of CMA and Mam Hazel Alfon of Central Luzon State University (CLSU).

On July 2022, OFC representatives again sought the assistance of NC Laur on how to improve and market their products – calamansi juice, and kamias juice and prunes. This time, BC Jeremy Ian facilitated the business name registration to what they will consider as the production and processing arm of the association, thus the birth of Laur OFC Food Products Manufacturing.  After which, a product clinic was conducted that paved the way for the group to be included to the 2022 OTOP Program which will improve the label design and packaging of their products.

Since then, Laur OFC never missed an opportunity in joining DTI-organized seminars and activities, be it face-to-face or virtual. During the last quarter of 2022, they were able to participate in major activities conducted by DTI Nueva Ecija like the Bida MSME Tradefair and the Pre-Christmas Diskwento Caravan where they showcased their products. Marketing their products was challenging, as they started selling their products to their immediate families, relatives and neighbors only. From having no income at all, their monthly sales are now averaging from P15,000 to P20,000 and they were able to gain more clients from private organizations to government agencies like CLSU, DAR, PHILRICE, DOH, CMA, & OWWA. Their very own Kamias Prunes already reached Canada and Australia thru other OFW friends and acquaintances. They also have their very own Oatmeal cookies with Kamias prunes that were already rolling out in the market. At present, Laur OFC Food Products Manufacturing is continuously developing other products, like Camias vinegar, Camias powder, and Camias wine to maximize resources that are readily available in backyard farms of their members and market it in the near future. By: BC Jeremy Ian S. Lulu, NC Laur ♦

Date of released: 31 August 2023