MORE Filipinos are now opting to stash more money into Pag-IBIG Fund, the government agency tasked to help Filipinos save up to own a house, the public firm announced Tuesday.
In a statement, Pag-IBIG Fund Chairman Chito Cruz, said collections from the government mutual fund’s upgraded savings program has been steadily increasing.
Cruz said the agency collected in 2015 a sum of P4.2 billion from its upgraded savings scheme, an 8-percent increase from P3.9 billion collected from the program alone in 2014.
Earlier this year, Pag-IBIG reported that the fund’s total collection for 2015 amounted to P111 billion.
In its launching year in 2013, the fund’s upgraded savings program collected P3.5 billion in contributions from members.
Under Pag-IBIG’s upgraded savings program, members have the option to contribute over and above the mandatory monthly fund contribution of P100.
Pag-IBIG Fund President and Chief Executive Officer Darlene Berberabe said the upgraded savings option was to encourage members to save more for their future.
“Aside from bigger savings upon retirement, Pag-IBIG members who opt to increase their savings also get the benefit of higher dividend earnings, which are tax-free, and bigger loanable amounts, in case they need to borrow,” Berberabe said.
She stressed that the Pag-IBIG Fund’s yearly dividend is significantly higher than the interest rates offered by other savings instruments.
She cited, for instance, that Pag-IBIG’s dividend rate has not gone down below four percent in the last five years.
“For 2015, we declared a total of P14.2 billion in dividends, at a rate of 4.8 percent, which will be proportionately distributed and credited to the accounts of Pag-IBIG members,” Berberabe said.
The agency said this amount is P2.89 billion higher, or over a quarter increase from the P11.35 billion dividends it declared in the previous year.
The agency said it has declared more than P61.33 billion in dividends since 2010.
Berberabe said the Pag-IBIG Fund’s upgraded savings program is mutually beneficial to both the agency and the members.
“Campaigning for upgraded savings has been our strategy to generate more funds,” Berberabe pointed out. “Instead of increasing the mandatory monthly contribution, we decided that we would instead campaign for members to voluntarily upgrade their contributions. We had hoped that if members knew that Pag-IBIG is managing their money well, and they feel the benefits of their membership, members will see the value of increasing their contributions, which are actually their savings, and then they will actually save more.”
Pag-IBIG has the twin mandates of savings generation and provision of affordable housing for its members.
Beberabe said Pag-IBIG members above 65 years of age could claim their matured Pag-IBIG savings, known as their Total Accumulated Value (TAV).
The TAV covers the member’s contributions, the employer counterpart share, and Pag-IBIG dividends earned throughout the years of one’s membership.
In 2014, the agency launched its BalikSavings65 program, which simplified the savings withdrawal process for elderly Pag-IBIG members.
The agency noted that about 7,662 members who are 65 and above have received their TAV as of end last year.
This amounted to savings of more than P301 million, the agency said.
“There are still many 65er-members who have yet to withdraw their TAV,” Berberabe noted. “Their TAV is money, which they saved, and now is the time to reap the benefits.
The TAV usually ranges from P40,000 to P70,000, but some members upgrade their monthly contribution so they can have a much bigger TAV. Some of the biggest TAVs I’ve seen ranged from P 532,000 to more than P733,000. I’m calling our retired members to claim their matured savings to help with their finances. It’s time for them to enjoy their hard-earned savings.”