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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Panel Consolidates Bills to Help Provide Financial Security to OFWs

Panel Consolidates Bills to Help Provide Financial Security to OFWs
October 12, 2010, 8:01pm

MANILA, Philippines – The House committee on overseas workers affairs consolidated the four bills seeking to provide financial security blanket to about eight million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) worldwide. The bills, which mandates the Overseas Workers and Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide a loan of P50,000 to an OFW, were now being consolidated by the committee’s technical working group (TWG).

The committee held its initial deliberations on House Bills 450, 2082, 973 and 1278, which spare the OFWs and their families from being victimized by loan sharks. Among the authors of the bill are Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo Angara, Negros Occidental Representative Ignacio Arroyo and Iloilo Representative Augusto Syjuco.The bills provide the release of a loan amounting to P50,000 upon the OFW’s submission of his or her bank account, employment contract and plane ticket duly certified by the recruitment agency or direct hirer and properly certified or verified by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Under the bill, the loan will be paid in 12 equal monthly installments at a preferred interest rate not to exceed six percent per annum. Those who fail to pay the loan or violate the terms imposed will be barred from future overseas employment. Qualified family member of the OFW may participate in the loan as co-borrower.
The loan will be entered into by and between the OFW and OWWA with the next-of-kin as the guarantor and will be covered with loan redemption insurance from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the premium of which will be paid by the applicant overseas worker, the bills said.

OFWs who are availing themselves of the loan needs to open a bank account with any domestic or foreign banking institution duly authorized to do business in the country in the name of the OFW and the immediate family member as borrower. All transactions will be made in the account where the proceeds of the loans will be released. All monthly remittances of salaries and wages abroad and payment of the loan will be made in the bank account.

In a related development, Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista said local residents need not to go the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Pasay City to ask for assistance once the city’s OFW Help Desk is formally opened. Earlier, the Quezon City government and the OWWA signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in creating the OFW Help Desk at the Quezon City Hall. Carlo Magno Abella, officer-in-charge of the Quezon City Public Employment Service Office (PESO), said the operation of the new OFW Help Desk will become part of the regular program of the city government to help its constituents.

Part of the assistance and benefits to be given are livelihood assistance up to P15,000 for displaced OFWs and those with breached contract, under the program of National Re-integration Center for OFWs. Another assistance that will be given is the ELAP or education, and livelihood assistance program for the beneficiaries of the OFWs. Anna Liza Estrada, OWWA family welfare officer, said the help desk will be open Wednesday at the PESO office for assistance or complaints.

After Quezon City, Estrada said the OWWA is also planning to set up other help desks at different places in Metro Manila which are far from the OWWA main office.


1 comment:

  1. Security is one of the threat when you are an OFW. This program is a huge help for millions of overseas Filipino worker around the world. Hope many OFW's will experienced this program.