Bill seeks to provide credit assistance for returning OFWs

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014


A LAWMAKER wants the government to provide credit assistance to returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the current global financial crisis.

House Bill 3902, authored by Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez, aims to mandate the government to ensure the welfare of returning overseas workers affected by the current global financial crisis by providing them access to credit facilities.

Rodriguez said a recession in various parts of world particularly in the United States, Europe and Japan would cause many OFWs to lose their jobs.

He noted that besides Singapore, France, Ireland and New Zealand are now also officially in recession.

"The Philippines is vulnerable to the present crisis because of its overseas workers. There are around 8 million Filipinos overseas or nearly one-tenth of the Philippine population. The government should be ready for the influx of jobless OFWs from the crisis-ridden countries," Rodriguez said.

The lawmaker cited that of the 91,411 domestic helpers working abroad, 98 percent or nearly 90,000 are female deployed in Hong Kong (19,532), Kuwait (19,097), Saudi Arabia (11,898), United Arab Emirates (11,844), Lebanon (7,710), Qatar (6,524), Jordan (4,359), Singapore (3,162), Oman (2,068), Cyprus (1,178) and Bahrain (1,343).

He noted that in 2007, the country has deployed a total of 49,431 workers to Singapore and around 2,220,000 OFWS in 2012, many of whom went to the Middle East, including Lebanon and Jordan, and in Asia.

Rodriguez underscored that another problem of OFW deportation is the large number of migrant workers without proper documents in Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.

"In times of an economic slump, the first thing that governments do is crack down on undocumented workers because they are seen as a burden on the economy worldwide, mostly in the Gulf countries and the Middle East. Many of them are low and middle skilled workers," Rodriguez said.

Under the measure to be known as the "Returning Overseas Workers Credit Assistance Act," an OFW may avail of a loan of not more than P50,000 from the Overseas Worker and Welfare Administration (OWWA).

The loan shall be paid in 12 equal monthly installments at a preferred interest rate not to exceed six percent per month.

The amount of P1 million from the sale of government’s shares in Petron Corporation is appropriated to implement the provisions of the proposed act. (Sunnex)

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