Press Release
January 4, 2006

Villar: OFW remittances propped up RP economy in '05;
OFW investments can do wonders to it in '06

Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, says that the precious remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), as in previous years, will continue to be the saving grace of the Philippine economy this year.

It is no secret that the $12 billion or so OFW remittances were the main driver of the countrys economy in 2005. This year, OFWs would still play an indispensable role in our economic performance. We really have a lot to thank the OFWs for, says Villar, President of the Nacionalista Party.

The Bangko Sentral forecasts that bank remittances from OFWs are likely to reach $10.3 billion by the end 2005, which is 20 per cent higher than 2004s level. This excludes transactions coursed outside the banks, thus total remittances are expected to reach $12 billion.

However, Villar cites, Imagine what this huge amount of money from OFWs can do to our countrys economy if they would be invested into business ventures? The amount would multiply even more.

Villar, through his Overseas Filipino Investment Bill urges OFWs to save, invest and engage in business ventures that would translate their hard-earned money into more economic gains for their country by becoming overseas Filipino investors or OFIs.

Its good that financial experts and economic managers are now urging banks and other financial institutions as well as private organizations to support OFWs who are interested to become entrepreneurs or investors. We need more of them, in order to create jobs for our people and to start off a positive chain reaction, adds Villar.

On top of fuss-free procedures and risk-free opportunities, Villars bill proposes the issuance of short and long-term OFI bonds by government banks; provision of government financial institutions (GFIs) of credit facilities for OFIs; the allocation of 10% of the total equity of governments existing businesses or enterprises for OFIs and their families; among other benefits and incentives such as income tax exemptions.

According to Villar, We should take advantage of the continued strong demand for OFWs worldwide. We are doing the country as well as the OFWs and their families a huge favor by channeling their hard-earned money into profitable ventures.

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