By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through Secretary Silvestre Bello III conveyed its support to House Bill No. 530, or An Act Creating the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Sovereign Fund, authored by Representative Joseph Stephen “Caraps” Paduano of Abang Lingkod Party-list.
Bello relayed DOLE’s support to the bill in separate letters dated August 18, 2020 addressed to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and House Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez.
“The DOLE wishes to convey our support for House Bill No. 530 … authored by Rep. Paduano, which proposes the raising of funds for government and government assisted projects through the issuance of bonds and other debt instruments for subscription and investment by OFWs, their immediate relatives and other Filipino citizens abroad,” Bello said.
“All OFWs are encouraged to invest part of their income or cash remittances with the government, to be pooled under a special fund to be referred as OFW Sovereign Fund. This will allow OFWs to save some of their income, simultaneously providing them the opportunity to help their country, since the proceeds of the created fund will finance significantly urgent national projects,” the DOLE secretary also said in the letter.
“The measure will also enable OFWs to be involved in nation-building towards the industrialization of the country. This bill is in line with the agenda of the President as outlined in his July 24, 2017 State of the Nation Address,” he also said, noting that the bill at the Committee level is awaiting approval when committee members will finally deliberate on the measure today.
The Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives chaired by Rep. Joey Salceda has approved the bill on August 17, 2020.
The bill aims to provide a safe investment opportunity for OFWs and their families so that they will no longer be victimized by fake investment schemes which are actually mere scams. The bill also aims to create jobs by raising government funds for industrial, agricultural and infrastructure projects which may employ former OFWs who lost their jobs abroad due to the pandemic./DGB, WDJ