Our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) work so hard and sacrifice their time and be away from their families for a better income and experience. Moreover, they spend most of their times alone in their first moments outside the country; adding the fact that they’re homesick and they miss their families. The government is arranging some type of OFW retirement benefits to help OFWs when they finally decide to retire. In this article, we’ll be detailing these three (3) bills that are being filed in the House of Representatives.
This idea came to life after the House committee on overseas workers affairs led by Rep. Jesulito Manalo (Party-list, ANGKLA) made a technical working group (TWG) to consolidate three measures; which seeks to provide retirement benefits and welfare assistance to OFWs. Since the Kuwait deployment ban, our government is looking at different options in terms of assisting OFWs in returning here in the Philippines.
As of the moment, these house bills are being observed and studied by the higher government offices as it is being pushed by the congress. Our dearest OFWs who make our economy and country image better should have some sort of a retirement plan; more like an OFW retirement benefit program in order for them to have options when they decide not to go outside the country anymore.
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These three (3) bills include:
- House Bill 3746 authored by Rep. Rodante Marcoleta
- HB 7228 by Rep. Winston Castelo; and
- House Bill 5470 by Rep. Gary Alejano
House Bill 3746 by Rep. Rodante Marcoleta
This bill calls for the creation of an OFW’s retirement fund system and OFW Retirement benefits. These should be intended to provide retirement benefits and similar due for service to OFWs and their beneficiaries.
The measure would require all OFWs duly registered with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), to receive five (5) percent of their gross monthly income, least would be 10 years.
Marcoleta pointed out that the Social Security System’s (SSS) program for OFWs offers pension funds which mature only when the worker is 60 years old. However, the representative said that some domestic and construction workers find getting a job difficult at the age of 45.
It is unthinkable for them to wait until the age of 60 to receive their pension benefits under the SSS program.
In addition to the OFW retirement benefit program, the fund shall be financed from the following sources; 10% from fees charged by Philippine international airports to outgoing OFWs; 10% from fees from OFW training centers; 10% from medical testing centers which shall provide medical tests to overseas job-applicants; and Php50 million annually for five years to be appropriated and be taken out from the contingency fund of the Office of the President to complement the OFW retirement benefits and funds reserve.
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House Bill 5470 by Representative Gary Alejano
Similar to the House Bill 3746, house representative Gary Alejano proposes a pension fund for OFWs. This however, will run for five (5) years and the requirement would be for the OFW to be registered in POEA and the Commission on Filipino Overseas. Like the first bill above, they would be receiving five (5) percent of their gross monthly income.
Just like Marcoleta, Gary is pointing out that OFWs who would have mishaps in their jobs before 60 would need something to start anew. With this bill, Alejano said that even five (5) percent of their monthly income would be big help in starting new businesses.
HB 7228 by Rep. Winston Castelo
Unlike the first two bills mentioned, this bill seeks to provide for the protection of OFWs and their beneficiaries in the event of income loss due to death or disability. This bill would make OFWs apply for a special fund program in the event that these things happen.
Castelo explains that when OFWs lose the ability to earn income due to misfortune turns in their lives. Why do you think this bill is under observation and investigation? Because Winston Castelo points out that most dependents and beneficiaries rely solely on the income of the OFWs. So, when that OFW loses the ability to earn income due to disability or death, the government will reach out to them for help and assistance.
There has to be a state intervention whereby they are protected economically if this scenario occurs.
Hopefully, these bills gets approved because our OFWs deserve more than this. Moreover, it would ultimately help them when they come back home because they would have different options like putting up businesses, investments, and the like. With these bills in place and under study, our OFWs would have clear ideas when they come back home whether or not they like to go back to work outside the country or not. However, these OFW retirement benefits would be an extreme “dream come true” for our modern-day heroes.