Every advocacy group strives to be relevant with the cause it undertakes, but the Overseas Filipino Stocks Investors (OFSI) dreamed to become “irrelevant” someday. Let’s find out why.
OFSI celebrated its 2nd anniversary on a very cold Friday night, 29th January at Holiday Inn Downtown, Sharq, Kuwait. OFSI officers, core team members, and the members from nine batches with their families and friends gathered together for a dinner with a cause.
The proceeds that came from the registrations will go to “Alay Sa Kawal Foundation”, an NGO devoted to the welfare of enlisted personnel in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
A program, prior to the dinner, started with the formal introductions given by Garry Nochefranca, Director – Global & Youth Membership, followed by prayer led by Elixer Sales, OFSI auditor.
Then it was followed by OFSI Founder and President, Mr. Renz Leano’s inspiring message to the participants and to all OFWs in general.
After Mr. Leano’s message, the participants started partaking a wide variety of mouth-watering buffet of food from Oriental to Mediterranean cuisine.
Why OFSI dreamed of being irrelevant someday?
“Our advocacy started years before OFSI was formally launched and even we dream that we become irrelevant someday because Financial Education is already part of our institutions” Renz Leano said in his message.
As one of the attendees of Batch 8, Leano kept on telling us during the sessions about his dream, which is OFSI’s vision that someday all OFW’s become:
- Financially literate with strong personal financial foundation.
- Knows how to save and invest to available investment instruments.
- Retire at the earliest and re-join their families back home.
- Overseas employment is no longer a need but only a choice for most Filipinos.
If he’s dream and OFSI’s vision in general will be realized, then OFSI is no longer relevant. On the flip-side, does it mean OFSI will always be there as long as there’s a need to educate Filipinos on personal finance? I believe so. But it could be in any form. The advocacy is greater than OFSI.
OFSI five years from now
“I hope [OFSI] it’s no longer be relevant… It’s not about OFSI, it’s about the advocacy. So, OFSI is just the name… the vehicle of the advocacy. But for me ang tanong is where will the advocacy be? Probably that’s the right question. OFSI may still be there or maybe not for whatever reason”, Leano said in my short interview with him.
I have the feeling that Leano would be realizing OFSI’s vision for himself in the near future.
I’m trying to grab off the passion, the training, so that somebody will still be there to continue [OFSI]. But the advocacy will still be there for me, in whatever form in whatever way….. I still definitely continue the advocacy, but I don’t know in what form kung nasa Pinas ako” Leano’ said on OFSI’s future and his passion for the advocacy.
Philippines financial literacy status
In a study made by the Asian Development Bank, Philippines was ranked 68th globally in terms of financial literacy index. It indicates that majority of Asian nations do not have a national strategy for financial education and literacy.
And if there’s an existing programs, it is really behind from the rest of the world. It was also revealed in the study that our country does not have a national strategy for financial education.
So, being an OFSI member, I would say that I’m lucky to have found and learn from OFSI. Although it has been reported that the Philippine government through DepEd will incorporate financial literacy curriculum to colleges, but it is still a long way to go for the government to put in place a national strategy on financial education and literacy.
To those OFW’s who wanted to improve their personal finance awareness and learned about financial instruments available that would lead us to personal abundance, feel free to contact OFSI.
As what Leano said, “OFSI may still be there or maybe not for whatever reason.” I think you need to seize the opportunity as long as OFSI is still available.
OFSI has been doing this advocacy for two years for free. It takes tremendous efforts to carry on the advocacy, but it’s the passion that keeps it going as long as there’s a need to educate OFWs.
OFSI members shared how OFSI changed their personal finances
As the dinner continued, few members from different batches shared their stories how OFSI had dramatically changed their financial status in life.
It was very touching to hear stories from fellow OFW’s on how they managed their finances before. How they turned to every sale and spend all their income without setting aside savings, and investing for retirement.
Members were very grateful about OFSI and they wish the officers and the president a happy anniversary. Leano also ask few trivia questions regarding OFSI and awarded winners with books.
The dinner ended with the awarding of recognition to those deserving OFSI officers who did an excellent job the entire year in supporting OFSI in touching more OFW lives through their sessions.
Indeed it was a fun night with lot of food and be with like-minded people.
Happy 2nd anniversary OFSI!
Below were few pictures I’ve taken during the event.