• Solon proposes establishment of Philippine OFW bank

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    A neophyte lawmaker has filed a measure seeking to establish a bank for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to provide adequate care, benefit and other forms of assistance to OFWs and their dependents.

    Rep. Juan “Johnny” Revilla (Party-list, OFW Family Club) said under House Bill 2942, the OFW Bank, to be owned by OFWs and their families, shall foster, improve and develop the financial interest and welfare of OFWs by providing them easy access to its products and services.

    “Such services are efficient remittance, loan and credit assistance services and protection and maximized benefits for their savings and investment,” Revilla said.

    Revilla said as money sent home by OFWs continues to increase, there is a pressing need for more bank remittance service providers to give more support for the growth of remittances of these modern-day heroes.

    He added that some OFWs are now allotting a major part of their monthly income to their savings. This means more savings, which would translate to bigger investment in a bank they own, he said.

    “The OFW bank would also encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of the OFWs by addressing and enhancing their investment potentials as they assure a better future for their families,” Revilla said.

    Revilla said OFWs would also earn benefits derived from the earnings of the bank’s net income being shareholders of the bank.

    Under the measure to be known as the Philippine OFW Bank, the bank shall accept remittances from the foreign earnings of OFWs and grant short-term or long-term loans and advances preferably by OFWs and their dependents against security and real estate and/or other acceptable assets for the establishment, rehabilitation or expansion of small-scale and medium-scale enterprises as well as agriculture, commercial, industrial and other productive enterprises.

    It shall also grant loans and credit assistance in easy payment terms to OFWs who will be deployed for overseas employment to defray the payment of recruitment expenses.

    The OFW Bank shall likewise invest in stocks; government guaranteed bonds and secured collaterals having maturities of not more than 30 years.

    The bill prohibits the granting of loans to any Director, Officer, Employee or Agent of the Bank, directly or indirectly, and no loans shall be granted to a corporation, partnership, or company wherein any member of the Board of Directors is a shareholder, agent or employee of the Bank.

    Likewise, at the end of each calendar year, the Bank shall determine the net result of its operation, of which adequate allowances shall be made for probable losses and the net profit shall be distributed. Twenty percent shall accrue to the reserve account, 80 percent shall be deducted the guaranteed earning of the preferred shares of stocks owned by the individual OFW or their dependents and the remaining profits shall be paid as dividends on common shares held by the individual OFW.

    The bill provides a penalty of P100,000 or imprisonment of not more than 5 years or both for violators. PNA

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