Aliping Endorses Credit Assistance Program for OFWs
Volume XVIII No. 5 (November 8-14, 2014)
Baguio Representative NicasioAliping, Jr. gave his support to House Bill (HB) 4985 Establishing a Credit Assistance Program for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
HB 4985 otherwise known as An Act Establishing a Credit Assistance Program for Overseas Filipino Workers was approved on third and final reading in the House of Representatives.
Aliping said the proposed Overseas Workers Credit Assistance Act would provide credit assistance to OFWs even before they leave the country.
The bill provides that an OFW can avail of a loan of not more than P50,000 from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to defray the living expenses of his or her family during the first months of absence.
“The loan can also be used to pay for recruitment expenses including placement fees, documentation costs and plane tickets,” said Aliping.
Aliping said that “the loan shall be covered with loanRedemption Insurance from any private insurance provider duly registered and accredited by the Insurance Commission.”
“The loan would be paid in 12 monthly installments at a preferred interest rate of not more than six percent per annum,” said Aliping.
The bill mandates OWWA to accredit as many domestic or foreign banking institutions as possible which are duly authorized to do business in the Philippines in order to serve the loan payment needs of overseas workers-borrowers.
Aliping explained that “it is the obligation of the overseas worker-borrower to remit the loan payment regularly to OWWA through the banking institutions.” “The bill provides that within one year after the effectivity of the measure, an online payment system shall be established wherein the OFW-borrower may pay the loan amortization through the Internet,” he said.
“Only the OFWs with valid employment contracts processed through licensed Recruitment and Manning Agencies accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) are covered by the proposed act,”Alipingsaid.
Currently, there are about 13.5 million OFWs with the bulk of them working in 13 countries. There are 3.5 million working in America, 1.2 million in Saudi Arabia, 931,500 in United Arab Emirates, 850,000 in Canada, 686,500 in Malaysia, 391,700 in Australia, 243,000 in Japan, 218,000 in the United Kingdom, 213,000 in Kuwait, 200,000 in Qatar, 195,000 in Hong Kong, 185,000 in Singapore and 170,000 in Italy.