Pag-IBIG Fund targets 1-M OFW members by 2010
By Prix D. Banzon
Davao City (15 December) — The Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) popularly known as Pag-IBIG Fund is set to increase its membership of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to one million in 2010.
This was revealed by HDMF vice president for Southern Mindanao operations Jose W. Banzon, Jr. during the “Handog ng Pag-IBIG Fund sa OFW” last Friday at SM City Davao entertainment center.
Pag-IBIG Fund’s current membership for OFWs accounted to 470,000 and they aim to double the membership by 2010.
Meanwhile Banzon said with the huge contribution of OFWs to the country’s economy and as their gesture of recognizing these efforts they came up with fitting tribute to them by letting them understand further the benefits they get from the Fund as members and a simple celebration in time for the Christmas season.
Citing figures from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Banzon said that total remittances of OFWs from 2003 to 2008 amounted to US$ 70..5 billion or P3.2 Trillon. Figures for 2009 accounted to P284 billion or equivalent to 71 percent of the national budget of the Philippine government for 2010.
The BSP figure showed a projection of $17 b remittances or a growth rate of 4.2 percent compared to last year’s total remittances amounting to US$16 billion.
He said 10 percent of the Philippine population are working abroad of about 8.5 million are OFWs against the country’s population of 85 million.
“Without overseas employment and their accompanying remittances we might not have hope for the global financial crisis,” he said.
He said other countries were mostly affected by the global meltdown unlike the Philippines where OFW remittances is a big contribution to the Philippine economy.
Pag-IBIG Fund he said has set up offices around the globe within the Philippine embassies and consular offices that will cater to queries and other services of OFWs.
With the passage of the new law or Republic Act 9679, the OFWs in 2010 are covered by Pag-IBIG Fund as compulsory members.
Once a member of the Fund, it will be to the advantage of the OFW as they enjoy the benefits and services from multi-purpose loan to housing loan and earnings of dividends, he said.
The OFW has to pay only $5 monthly contribution and they could avail among others of a housing loan with six percent interest rate per annum for a house and lot package of P300, 000. However there are other types of packages that they can choose from depending on their needs, he said.
Banzon said their contribution could earn at least 4.5 percent and tax free unlike investing the money in time deposit with 2.5 percent interest less tax of 20 percent what is left is 80 percent or a net of 2 percent.
Linda Moreno, HDMF vice president for Philippine International Operations Group said they will be opening more offices abroad especially so that they had been getting regularl queries from OFWs.
As much as possible she said they wanted to make Pag-IBIG Fund services be more accessible to them.
Atty. Marie Antoniette D. Diaz, assistant manager for Pag-IBIG Fund Davao also explained that with the Fund now being exempted from paying taxes to the national government at about P3 billion, the fund can be used to more programs including payment of dividends to the members.
She also said that under RA 9679 as mandated, membership shall cover all employees who are members of the Social Security System and Government Service Insurance System and shall cover also those employees receiving with salaries P4,000 and below and those employees waived by companies.
She said the new law applies to all Philippine-based employees and overseas Filipino workers. (PIA) [top]