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MANILA, Philippines – A leader of an umbrella organization of licensed recruitment agencies on Monday asked lawmakers to carefully study the proposals to put up a bank for overseas Filipino workers.
Lita Hizon, chairman of the Federated Association of Manpower Exporters, expressed her reservations to the pending bill at the Senate and House of Representatives for an OFW bank.
“This OFW bank should be studied thoroughly. Hindi dapat apurahin, all concerned parties dapat ipatawag para malaman ang views nila. We are talking here of OFW money, at kapag may nangyari sa pondo nila magkakagulo, ” she warned.
Hizon said she fears that the propose OFW bank would suffer the consequence that befell other commercial banks that collapsed due to bad loans.
But then, she said an OFW bank could be beneficial to overseas migrant workers and their families as a conduit for remittances.
“Pwedeng magbigay ng special rate ang OFW Bank at mas mababang singil sa remittance at loan. Pero dapat legitimate OFWs at mga nasa sector lang ang makikinabang sa special packages na `yan,” she said.
FAME vice president Jackson Gan, for his part, said it is high time for OFWs to have a financial institution that would serve their financial and investment needs.
Gan noted that OFWs have suffered so much in significant depreciation of the dollar against the peso, noting a loss of as much as 20 percent of the value of their income from abroad since the last quarter of 2007.
He said OFWs need a financial organization that would enhance the investment potential of OFWs, give proper advice for income-generating business enterprises and be ready to help OFWs at all times.
Gan added that service charges in ATMs can be reduced or totally removed by an OFW bank.
The government-controll ed Land Bank of the Philippines is said to be interested in managing the proposed OFW bank.
It is proposed to be known as Philippine Overseas Postal Bank to be merged with the Philippine Postal Savings Bank.
The OWWA is expected to invest P 1 billion as preferred shares while the Land Bank and DBP will invest P350 million each or a total of P700 million as initial capitalization of the proposed bank.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is still studying the concept of the OFW bank with an OWWA study group, according to OWWA Administrator Marianito Roque. – Fidel Jimenez, GMANews.TV