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Frequently Asked Questions

Note: Click on the question to view or hide the answer.

askmig-donate01

 Invest

Q: Do I have what it takes to become an entrepreneur or business owner?  What are the traits and characters of a successful entrepreneur?

Migs:  Being an entrepreneur requires certain traits and characteristics such as: an innovator, a risk taker, determined, and visionary.  There are a number of “authorities” on the subject matter.
Jim Price of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan writes,

“Whether I’m out on the speaking circuit, working with startups, back in Ann Arbor teaching MBAs, or just socializing in a coffee shop, I’d say there’s one question I’m hit with more than any other.

It comes in different forms, but the essence of the question is same: 'What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur?'

Over the years, my answer has evolved.  But I’ve found myself settling on ten traits that are shared in common by virtually every truly successful entrepreneur I’ve met, observed or studied.  The true rock stars are all:"

1.    Passionate
2.    Resilient
3.    Self-Possessed
4.    Decisive
5.    Fearless
6.    Financially Prepared
7.    Flexible
8.    Zoom Lens-Equipped
9.    Able to Sell
10.    Balanced

Source:  http://www.businessinsider.com/traits-of-successful-entrepreneurs-2013-2#ixzz2fzRoS6kd

Q: What kind or type of business enterprise shall I engage/invest my hard earned savings?

Migs: The business or enterprise you choose will depend on several factors such as:

1. Yourself:  What are your interest and skills?  What do you like to do?  If you are not directly managing, operating and running the business and you’re putting it up for someone else such as your friends or family members, then consider their skills and preferences as well.  For instance, if a relative is a seasoned welder then putting up a welding shop may be an option; or if you like to farm and/or the family has a small piece of land, then agriculture may be best for a family business. If cooking is in interest, then you may start an eatery or a carinderia. Look into yourself and what you are really passionate about. It is essential that you get satisfaction and fulfillment from the business other than its monetary benefits.

2. The environment and/or your locality: Study the neighborhood and the community.  What products are there and what are NOT available?  Abundant goods may be traded outside, to the neighboring areas, while bringing in products that are not available – similar to importing and exporting in a small town or barangay.  Is there an abundant source of raw materials for processing into a value-added product? You may consider a business on the production/processing area like putting up a fish smoker if you’re near a fishing village and could access abundant fish resource.  Also, making native delicacies out of local ingredients found abundantly in your area can be a viable business opportunity.

Start with what you already have such as a small piece of land for high value vegetables or organic products. Does the family have idle machinery and/or equipment which can be rehabilitated for business use, such as an old cement mixer or a hand-tractor that can be leased to others? Look around the community and study the sources of livelihood of the general populace.  If the economy is booming and more new residents are coming in, it usually means
there is a need for more services like transport, repair, laundry, etc. You can even put up a small merchandise store.

Of course, if you don’t have time to directly run a business and would rather have your money to work for you, then you may want to be an investor in the stock or bond market. To learn more about investing in the stock market you may visit the website of the Philippine Stock Exchange here:

http://www.pse.com.ph/stockMarket/content.html?sec=INVEST_HEADER  

Q: How do I identify products?

Migs:  A product may either be a good or a form of service. Identify which ones are in demand and lacking in supply within a specific geographical area. Are there products not yet available immediately in the area such as a mobile phone loading service?  Being near a main road used by numerous vehicles and being far from the center of town may be an opportunity for a vulcanizing shop for emergency repairs, or a truck stop for resting and dining.

Products satisfy and meet the needs and wants of humans.  Some of the basic needs are food, shelter and clothing.  Wants depends on individual preference and changes over time such as gadgets, health and wellness products, fashion and accessories.  You have to diligently study and observe the environment and community where you intend to establish a business.

Q: What is the difference between a business plan, a feasibility study and business model?  What are their components?

Migs: A business plan is a written document outlining the different aspects and parts of an enterprise and how it shall be established. It describes how the business shall be operated and managed. A business plan is usually a result of a feasibility study – wherein all aspects and components of the business are studied and analyzed to come up with best possible options and methods to establish the business enterprise.  A feasibility study looks into various alternatives available and the chosen ones comprise the business plan.

Thus, the components of both the feasibility study and business plan are one and the same.  They vary only in terms of depth and the extent of the undertaking.  The feasibility study covers all available alternatives and ways of doing things – laying down the requirements and needs for the enterprise to succeed.  The business plan contains only the chosen alternative from the feasibility study.  In a way, a feasibility study provides a basis in drafting a business plan.

One of the major components of a business plan is social desirability.  Social desirability looks into the social dimensions of the project both in terms of the environment and the community affected by the project. What kind of impact and footprint shall be left by the project on the surrounding area where the business is established? Benefits like more employment opportunities and more available choices of goods and services in the community are taken into consideration;  as well as the effects of its waste to the soil and water systems, and the disposal system

On the other hand, a business model is a set of guidelines on the manner of running a business. For example, the choice to sell and distribute the product house to house instead of placing the product on shelves and wait for customers to come in, is a more direct and aggressive way of marketing (similar to the Avon products direct marketing or the ambulant vendors walking the streets instead of having a stall at the public market).    Franchising as a model comes complete with operating manuals and systems wherein the “owner and/or investor” may choose whether he wants to have a direct hand in the business or have the business operated and managed by professionals. The entrepreneur has the liberty and choice depending on his designed preference, insight and vision.

Q: Where can I seek for assistance in preparing a feasibility study and/or business plan?

Migs:  There are various professionals who can undertake the study and/or make the feasibility study and business plan.  You may consult/ask help from a marketing person, an engineer, a human resource practitioner, an accountant, an economist, and a lawyer.  As professionals charge fees and will take a portion of the money available which is intended to fund the establishment of the project, one would have to be careful in selecting and seeking help.  It is best that you as the ‘would-be’ entrepreneur be involved in the undertaking and at the same time, ask advice from experts.

Q: What are the taxes levied on business by the National government? Local government?

Migs:  There are two types of taxes levied on businesses. The first type is the taxes levied by National Law; those included in the revenue code and enforced by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).  Examples are the VAT, EVAT, percentage tax, gross receipts tax, business income tax and others.  Depending on the kind of business, other taxes are also levied such as Custom Duties and the Tariff Code for import and export trading.  Equally there are also incentives and benefits accorded special kinds of business: like the Magna Carta for micro enterprises, export processing zones and cooperatives and foundations.  You may visit the BIR website at http://www.bir.gov.ph/ .  The second type is the taxes levied by the Local Government Unit (LGU) where the business is registered with and operates in.  These include a Governor’s Permit, Mayor’s Permit (with other accompanying permits such as Sanitation, City Engineer’s, etc.).  Each municipality and province have their own set of taxes and regulations as well as benefits and exemptions.  It is best to check directly with them.  Here it the link to the Department of Internal and Local Government (DILG) for the listings, http://www.dilg.gov.ph/.

Q: I want to clarify and inquire on some things, where can I seek assistance?

Migs:  If you still have some more questions and clarifications, you post a query at our OnLine Forum.  You have to sign in first here.

 

 
askmig-donate01

 Donate

Q: Who can Donate?

Migs: Individual overseas Filipinos, foreign nationals, organizations, and entities, who give, provide grants or bestow financial, material or technical assistance.

Q: How can overseas Filipinos and other Qualified Donors Help?

Migs: Overseas donors may consider addressing any of the  development needs of the Philippines under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations:

(1) eradicating extreme poverty and hunger
(2) achieving universal primary education,
(3) reducing child mortality and improving maternal health,
(4) ensuring environmental sustainability.

To support the MDGs, under the Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino (LINKAPIL) Program of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), overseas donors may extend assistance to support micro-finance / livelihood projects, gift-giving activities, relief assistance, supplementary feeding, construction of small-scale infrastructure facilities, such as water and sanitation facilities, health centers, classrooms, scholarship grants, and conduct of surgical and medical missions to help have better access to health services.

Q: How can the donor channel donations/resources?

Migs: There are two ways by which resources from sponsors / donors can be channeled:

Direct Transfer (donor to beneficiary) – Overseas donors may directly send or transfer resources or assistance to a specified beneficiary who shall implement the project.  They should inform the CFO however, so that the project(s) can be monitored and evaluated and a feedback reporting system may be established.

Indirect Transfer: (donor to beneficiary through CFO) – It is encouraged that the donor transfer the resources or assistance through CFO for eventual turnover to a specified beneficiary. CFO will monitor the project and provide the donor with reports on resource utilization, implementation and evaluation.

Q: What are the benefits for sending cash donations through the CFO's LINKAPIL program?

Migs: Donors overseas sending cash donation through the visa payment facility of the CFO’s LINKAPIL program need not out to find a bank, remittance center or other financial institutions to remit their donation. Through the online facility, donors can donate at their convenience where they will only be charged 1.5% of the total amount remitted using local or foreign issued credit cards.

Q: Who are the qualified beneficiaries/donee and consignee?

Migs: A donee / consignee is an individual or group identified by the donor to receive the donation or shipment in behalf of the end users / beneficiaries of the assistance.

A qualified donee / consignee however can qualify for duty free importation of material donations  if they are included in the list of the qualified recipients provided for by the Tariff and Custom Code of the Philippines (Presidential Decree No. 1464)

Q: How can the CFO help facilitate sending of material donations to the Philippines?

Migs: CFO does not charge any administrative fee from donors or beneficiaries in the course of transferring the assistance from abroad, including material donations. All expenses arising from the activities undertaken to implement and monitor the project are taken from the budget of the CFO under the General Appropriations Act.

The CFO under the Foreign Service Circular No. 61-00 may receive direct intent from the donor or referral from the Philippine Posts overseas of prospective donation. The CFO coordinates with designated consignee and agencies concerned to determine if the intended donation is eligible for duty-free entry and if designated consignee is qualified to receive the donation free from duties.

Regardless of the type or value of the assistance, all programs or projects under the LINKAPIL are covered by specific deed or formal agreement among parties (donor, donee / consignee and the CFO) which defines the purpose of assistance, the kind and amount of support and the responsibilities or obligations of each party.

Q: Can the beneficiaries and donors apply for duty and tax exemption for overseas donations?

Migs: As defined by the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, Section 5  and Executive Order 163, entry of overseas donations may be accorded tax and / duty-free exemption depending on the nature of items to be donated and the qualification of the donee.

Prior to availing said privileges however, the consignee / donee would need to secure pertinent endorsements and clearances from concerned government agencies.

Q: What are the requirements from the donor and beneficiary in applying for tax and Duty-Free entry?

Migs: Generally, the following documentary requirements must be provided by the donor and the donee; the following documentary requirements must be provided by the donor and the donee; Letter requesting for duty exemption, authenticated deed of donation, itemized packing list, shipping documents, commercial invoice, notarized deed of acceptance, DSWD license and accreditation if NGO and SEC registration / articles of incorporation / by laws for first time applicant.

Depending on the nature of donations to be shipped, additional documents (clearance, certification and endorsement) from concerned agency may be requested. (Please refer to Annex A: Rules and Regulations Governing Duty-Free Donations)

Q: Which agencies endorse requests for Duty-Free exemption?

Migs: The following agencies may issue endorsement depending on the item being donated;  NEDA-for machinery and equipment; DOF and UNESCO - for computers / educational materials and books / publications;  DOF, FDA, DOH,  DSWD and DOF - for food and non-food items, DSWD, OP and DOF- for Calamity relief items.

Q: What items may not be imported to the country?

Migs: Section 101, tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, RA 4653, DSWD Department order No. 28 (s 1999), RA 8506, Bureau of Import Services Monetary Board Resolution no. 258 provide the list of items prohibited for donations. (Please refer to Annex B: Prohibited Items for Donation). doc: prohibited contraband items.wordoc

Q: Are there any permits required from the overseas Filipino professional and/or foreign professional to conduct surgical and medical missions in the Philippines?

Migs: Yes, in fact there are pertinent documents to be required from the medical professionals, local beneficiary and even the medicine to be used in the conduct of the medical mission.  Specific instructions for surgical and medical mission volunteers to comply with are stipulated in the DOH Administrative Order No. 0030, s. 2012. (Please refer to Annex C: Guidelines on Foreign Surgical and Medical Mission Program in Support of Universal Health Care / Kalusugan Pangkalahatan) doc:admin order 20120-0030.pdf

The CFO acts as a liaison officer in any of the transaction with concern government agency (PRC, DOH and local counterparts) to facilitate proper issuance of special temporary permit which is usually applied for by the former Filipinos and foreign professionals conducting humanitarian missions in the Philippines not later than 10 days before the implementation of the said mission.

Q: What are the requirements in applying for permits required from overseas professional and/or foreign professional who will be conducting surgical and medical mission in the Philippines?

Migs: Foreign and former Filipino medical professionals will need to apply for the issuance of Special Temporary Permit with the Professional Regulation Commission to enable them to practice their respective profession in the country for a specific period of time. The following are required:

  • Duly accomplished and notarized Application Form (application forms may be downloaded from the website of the PRC at http://www.prc.gov.ph)
  • Letter request addressed to PRC Chairperson for the issuance of Special Temporary Permit to the foreign professional for the conduct of humanitarian mission with the undertaking that no fees will be charged from the patients. The letter must indicate the venue and the specific date of the humanitarian mission.
  • Authenticated copy of the applicant’s valid passport as proof of citizenship and proof of entry in the Philippines
  • Authenticated copy of the valid professional license issued by the country of origin with official English translation thereof where necessary

Q: How many days does it takes to apply for the Special Temporary Permit?

Migs: PRC will only process applications for Special Temporary Permits upon completion of the required documents and will take a lead time of 10 working days.

Q: Are there any fees to be paid for the Special Temporary Permit?

Migs: The processing fee for the Special Temporary Permits is PhP1,250.00 per applicant. Payment must be made directly to the PRC prior to the approval and issuance of said permit to the missioner or through its authorized representative.

Q: Is there a need for the missioner to return back the Special Temporary Permit to PRC after the mission? 

Migs:  No. The Special Temporary Permit (STP) is only valid during the duration of the mission and can only be used for the specific date of the humanitarian mission. Missioner will only need to submit their post missioner report after each of their mission. Non-submission of post mission report will be a ground for non-issuance of STP in their next humanitarian mission in the Philippines.

 


askmig-volunteer01

 Volunteer

Q: What are my interests?

Migs:  Whether you’re interested in a volunteer position that will fit with your intended field of study, or you want to focus your volunteer efforts on a particular population or cause, you’ll need to consider what your interests are to narrow down your options. There are volunteer opportunities out there for almost any interest area you’ll be able to think of, so take some time to figure out what is motivating you to volunteer in the first place.

Q: What are my skills?

Migs: Certain volunteer positions will ask applicants to boast unique skill sets, so if you have skills that may be valuable to a particular organization, consider that when you’re looking for volunteer work. You may be gifted musically, for example, but not using those talents in your intended major at your college. You could then be a great resource for a local music therapy program or summer camp for at-risk youth. Think about what makes you unique, as you would during a scholarship search, when looking for volunteer opportunities.

Q: What do I most want to learn from the experience?

Migs: A volunteer job can be a good place to get your feet wet in your intended field of study or to learn new skills that could be useful to you once you graduate from college. Think about the kinds of things you want to learn from your time volunteering, because you may not only end up learning about yourself, but learning useful skills for the future, as well.

Q: What will I gain from volunteer work?

Migs: Although we’d all like to assume people volunteer for selfless reasons, it’s not a bad idea to think about what you’ll gain from one particular volunteer position over another. There could be academic credit involved, or exposure to people in the field you’d like to end up in after graduation. Think about what you want to get from your volunteer experience, as everyone’s end goals differ when it comes to unpaid service.

Q: Will my volunteering affect my other commitments?

Migs: If you’re already stretched thin and are worried about whether a volunteer position will made it hard for you to keep up with your schoolwork, a paid job, or other commitments you may already have going, you may need to reconsider the timing if your volunteer search. You can’t do everything, so figure out what’s most important to you early on in your freshman year – and stick to those commitments.

Q: How flexible am I?

Migs: Once you’ve determined that you’re able to take on a volunteer position, you may want to consider whether you’re able to compromise on some things that seemed so important to you at the start of the volunteer search. Your ideals may have changed, so think about whether you’re open to things like a location you hadn’t considered, or a cause you had previously ignored. You may find being flexible teaches you something valuable in the end.

Q: How much time do I have?

Migs: It’s always better to wait until you know you have the time for some community service. That way, you won’t risk leaving the person or organization you’d be working with in the lurch and in need of a last-minute replacement for you if you choose to leave your position mid-assignment. It’s also important to consider how many hours per day, per week, or per month you have to dedicate to a volunteer job. Be realistic.

Q: Do I want an ongoing assignment, a short-term assignment, or a one-time assignment?

Migs: Depending on the organization or individual you’ll be volunteering with, you may have the option of choosing how long you’d like your volunteer work to last. Other assignments may not be so flexible, and require that volunteers stick with that assignment for a specific period of time. Make sure you know what’s expected of you before applying to a volunteer position, as you may want to tailor your search to how much time you’re willing to offer a cause.

Q: Do I want to work alone, or with a group?

Migs: Many professional organizations or church groups organize team volunteer activities for those who need that social dynamic to get them more involved in community service. If you prefer a position with more independence, however, you may want to find a volunteer gig where you’ll be responsible for yourself, whether that’s setting your own schedule or molding the position to fit your interests.

 


askmig-onlineserv01

 Online Services

Q: Can I continue paying my SSS contributions even if I’m already residing abroad? 

Migs: You can still continue paying your SSS contributions as a voluntary member and claim your pension personally as you retire, provided that you have completed 120 months of contributions when you reach the age of 65. However, you also have another option. You could avail of the SSS Flexi-fund which is a provident fund and is therefore refundable even without reaching 120 months of contributions.


Q: I am planning to leave the country for good. Can I refund my Pag-IBIG contribution even if I have not yet completed 240 months of contributions? 

Migs: Yes. You can claim your Pag-IBIG total accumulated value before leaving the country to reside permanently abroad.


Q: I will be residing permanently abroad, but my dependents are still here in the Philippines. Can I still continue paying for my PhilHealth coverage?  

Migs: Yes. You can still continue paying for your PhilHealth coverage as an Individually Paying Member (not as an Overseas Worker Member).

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