New bill bats for creation of OFW pension system

New bill bats for creation of OFW pension system
File photo of overseas Filipino worker lane at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport
BusinessWorld / File

MANILA, Philippines — A party-list lawmaker has proposed specific social security benefits and retirement protection for overseas Filipino workers.

Rep. Ron Salo, (Kabayan Party-list), chair of the House committee on overseas workers affairs emphasized this in House Bill No. 8574 or the Kabayayan OFW Pension Act, which he filed on Wednesday.

The new House bill filed aims for a “unique” pension and social security system designed specifically for OFWs and acknowledges their vulnerabilities abroad.

The solon cited that while the current Social Security System allows OFWs to become voluntary members through specific schemes, the approach does not fully resonate with migrant workers.

"In our consultations with OFWs in different parts of the world, it has become apparent that the establishment of a unique pension system for OFWs is one of their most enduring and urgent aspirations," Salo said.

"After years of toiling in foreign lands and diligently sending their hard-earned money to their loved ones in the Philippines, they find themselves without adequate social protection in the twilight of their years," he added.

Under House Bill No. 8574, the government will draw guidelines for a system covering OFW's retirement benefits, monthly pension, death benefits, permanent disability benefits, and funeral benefits.

Salo said the separate social security and pension system would create a retirement fund that would secure OFWs financially in their old age and would serve as the safety net for them and their families in the event of job loss, disability or death.

He also proposed that the system provide other benefits to the migrant workers “as long as financially viable.” 

“Providing retirement benefits and pension to our OFWs is one of the most tangible means of showing our genuine gratitude for their sacrifices working [on ]foreign shores,” he said.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in December 2022 showed that OFWs posted an all-time high of total inflows of USD 36.14 billion.

In the same period, total cash remittances amounted to USD3.16 billion, which is 5.8% higher than the previous year’s USD2.99 billion. —Rosette Adel

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