THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) is encouraging Filipino migrant workers to invest in the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Bank that will be operational in October.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd on Monday said interested OFWs may opt to use their credit lines with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
“Once the OFW Bank is launched you can borrow from your funds in OWWA to buy the shares of stocks so that you will become part owner. I want all OFWs to have shares in the banks and have their own credit facilities,” Bello said.
The OFW Bank will handle the remittances and other banking needs of Filipino workers abroad.
“By October the OFW Bank will be there. So instead of applying for a loan from the Land Bank or other banks, you can do it with the OFW Bank, your own bank,” he added.
The creation of the OFW Bank is one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s three promises to migrant Filipino workers during the presidential campaign.
The other two were the creation of a Department of OFW and to make it mandatory for the consul general to keep track of all Filipinos abroad and the provision of free airfare to abused overseas workers who want return home.
The labor chief said that the OFW Bank will complement the OFW Integrated DoLE System (iDOLE), which will also be operational soon.
The iDoLE-OFW ID card will serve as a debit card and an ATM card for the OFW Bank as well as a beep card for LRT and MRT, among other purposes.
Meanwhile, Bello assured repatriated OFWs from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of continued assistance while they are waiting for final court action on their unpaid wages and other monetary claims.
Bello said the OWWA is continuously monitoring and following up their monetary claims.
OWWA Deputy Administrator Brigido Dulay and Ceasar Chavez of the OWWA Repatriation Assistance Division said that they are coordinating with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Al Khobar to hasten the processing of the OFWs’ monetary claims before the Saudi court.
Dulay said they are also accommodating the labor cases filed by around 100 late-claimants so they can also receive their unpaid wages and benefits from their employers.
WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL