27 May 2011

House Approves P50,000 OFW Loan

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill that would grant overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) a maximum P50,000 loan to cover the living expenses of their families or pay placement fees, documentation costs, and plane fare of an OFW.

Unanimously passed in last Monday’s session, House Bill No. 4539 or the Overseas Workers Credit Assistance Act of 2011 extends the 12-month cash advance to qualified OFWs to make it easier for them and their families to cope with daily expenses during the first months of the worker’s absence.

Authors of the bill include: Representatives Juan Edgardo Angara (LDP, Aurora), Mitos Magsaysay (Lakas-Kampi, Zambales), Toby Tiangco (PMP, Navotas), Rodel Batocabe (Ako Bikol), Ignacio Arroyo (Lakas-Kampi, Negros Occidental), Carlos Padilla (NP, Nueva Vizcaya), and Leopoldo Bataoil (Lakas-Kampi, Pangasinan).

Angara said that under the bill, funding for the loans will be made available by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). He said all OFWs will be entitled to the assistance so long as they have valid employment contracts through a licensed recruitment and manning agency accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

Angara said all loans will carry a “preferred interest rate” of a maximum six percent payable in 12 equal monthly installments.

Magsaysay said OFWs who avail themselves of the loan should make any member of their family a co-borrower.

No loan will be released by OWWA without proper evaluation of the employment contract and plane ticket and without a certification from the licensed recruitment agency or “direct hirer” on the authenticity of the contract, the Zambales lawmaker added.

Tiangco said the bill also provides the accreditation with OWWA of “as many domestic and foreign banking institutions as possible” authorized to transact business in the Philippines.

He explained that this provision will ensure accessibility of the credit program to all OFWs.
According to Tiangco, the measure also mandates online payment system one year after the program has been launched.
Source: Manila Bulletin




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