"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Creation of 'provident fund' for OFWs

The creation of a provident fund for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that would help them save and invest their money for their social security, Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) today proposed.

Gordon, who chaired the hearing for the budget of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), suggested that the agency study the Central Provident Fund (CPF) of Singapore and use it as an example to create the Philippines' own provident fund for OFWs.

"There are 4.5 million contractual OFWs; they earn dollars abroad, risk their lives, but are they covered by social security? What happens is like this, I'm an OFW, I work abroad, earn a little, buy my own house, have a better life, but when I lose my job abroad, too bad for me," he said.

The senator noted that OFWs covered by the Social Security System (SSS) are Filipinos recruited by a foreign-based employer for employment abroad who have availed of voluntary coverage.

"What the government must do is to create a program that would help our fellow Filipinos who are working abroad make good use of their money. The formula here is work, save and invest to prosper," he said.

Gordon explained that Singapore's CPF is a comprehensive social security savings plan for employees. Working Singaporeans and their employers make monthly contributions to the CPF and these contributions go into three accounts--ordinary, special and medisave accounts.

Under the ordinary account, the savings can be used to buy a home, pay for CPF insurance, investment and education; the special account is for old age, contingency purposes and investment in retirement-related financial products; while the medisave account can be used for hospitalization expenses and approved medical insurance.

"What we want is to broaden the opportunities available for our OFWs. If the government has a program for them, like this provident fund, Filipinos working abroad would have a sense of security and confidence," Gordon said.

"If we can get our OFWs to work, save and invest, prosperity would come next and eventually, less Filipinos would seek employment in foreign shores because there are more opportunities in our own native Filipinas," he added.

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