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Loan For Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)
« on: October 25, 2008, 10:29:59 PM »
The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a measure which seeks to grant exclusive low-interest rate credit assistance to departing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are faced with the high cost of placement fees and other recruitment expenses.

Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" M. Angara, said House Bill 161, or "An Act Establishing A Credit Assistance Program For Overseas Workers," will greatly benefit the OFWs who have been referred to time and again as the heroes of the present generation.

"We call them heroes because of the million and one sacrifices that they have to endure in the search for social and economic redemption they have failed to achieve here in our country," he said.

"It is but fitting to extend to the OFWs all the assistance the government can give. This should include an exclusive credit assistance program to them as proposed under this measure," he added.

Under the proposed measure, an OFW who has a valid contract as certified by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) may avail of a P50,000 loan from the Overseas Worker and Welfare Administration (OWWA) to defray the living expenses of his family during the first few months of his absence as well as other expenses incurred in his pre-employment. The payment shall be through bank transactions with simple and easy loan terms.

The bank account shall be in the name of the OFW and/or a member of his immediate family as co-borrower to which the monthly remittances of salaries abroad shall be deposited, and where monthly payments on the loan shall be made.

Angara, principal author of the bill, said the measure provides that the loan shall be granted and released to the contract worker by the OWWA upon proper submission of an employment contract, plane ticket, bank account duly certified in writing by the recruitment agency or direct hirer as to their authenticity. The same should also be properly certified and verified by the POEA.

He said the loan shall be covered with loan redemption insurance from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the premium of which shall be paid by the applicant OFW.

The loan shall be paid in 12 equal monthly installments at a preferred interest rate not to exceed six percent per annum. The OFW shall execute the necessary authority for the bank to withhold the monthly loan amortizations from his remittances.

Failure to pay the loan and/or any violation of the terms of agreement shall be sufficient ground to bar the defaulting OFW-borrower from future overseas employment. - Lilybeth Ison

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