Press Release
October 12, 2013


Sen. Grace Poe has filed a bill granting credit assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to help them cope with pre-departure costs and defray their families' living expenses.

"It is but fitting that the government extends all the assistance it can give to our modern-day heroes," Poe said.

"Many of our OFWs are neck-deep in debt even before they leave the country due to high cost of deployment fees," Poe said.

Under Senate Bill No. 1421, an OFW with a contract certified as valid by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) may obtain a P50,000 loan from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) that can be spent for living expenses of dependents prior to deployment, and defray recruitment expenses, including placement and documentation fees and air fare.

The loan will be paid in 12 monthly installments at an interest rate of not more than 6%, with the OFW authorizing a chosen bank to withhold the amortization from remittances.

The loan will be granted and released by the OWWA upon proper submission of an employment contract, plane ticket, bank account duly certified in writing by the recruitment or hiring agency.

"More than being referred to as modern-day heroes, OFWs are considered as a vital partner of the Philippine development with their remittances contributing to the economy at around $24 billion per year," Poe said in her bill, quoting a recent study by the World Bank.

A national Labor Force Survey conducted last year found that some 2.2 million Filipinos are working abroad, with the Middle East as the top destination, followed by Singapore and Hongkong.

The largest segment of OFWs, or 32.7%, are laborers and unskilled workers, with the household service workers topping the list of occupations.

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