Provident fund for OFWs
Senator Richard Gordon, Bagumbayan-Volunteers for a New Philippine Party standard-bearer, has proposed the creation of a provident fund for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that would help them save and invest their money for their social security.
During the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation Presidential Policy Forum, Gordon discussed his earlier proposal of creating the Philippines' own provident fund for OFWs, patterned after the Central Provident Fund (CPF) of Singapore.
"We always say they (OFWs) are our heroes, but what kind of a future are we going to give back to them? Singapore has four and a half million people and they have a central provident fund of $30 billion. We have nine million Filipinos overseas that can participate in a provident fund," he said.
Gordon, who first brought up the issue of creating a provident fund to Labor Department officials during a Senate hearing last year, noted that only a few OFWs, those who are recruited by a foreign-based employer who have availed of voluntary coverage, are covered by the Social Security System (SSS).
He said that the government must create a program that would help Filipinos who are working abroad make good use of their money.
"The formula here is to work, save and invest to prosper. We can have our people who are overseas contribute to a provident fund. We would make sure that we have a large amount of savings that can be used to provide a future for them, build homes, provide insurance, provide education, and provide a retirement fund for them," Gordon explained.
He added that this kind of program would broaden the opportunities available for OFWs. Likewise, it would give them a sense of security and confidence. But Gordon stressed that the better thing to do is still to provide opportunities here for the people so that they will not have to find their future in foreign shores.
"If we improve our educational system, our people will have choice. Instead of going abroad, they can have choice here. We have to find ways and means of improving the countryside, so that we can all find our future in Filipinas, our own native homeland," Gordon said.