House Bill Empowers OFWs to Fund Government Projects

A bill that pushes for the establishment of a special fund that allows overseas Filipino workers to invest their money towards the Philippine government’s infrastructure projects has been filed in the House of Representatives.

ANGKLA party-list representative Jesulito Manalo filed House Bill 6519 or the “OFW Sovereign Fund Act”, a special fund where all investments by OFWs, their immediate family members, and other Filipino citizens overseas can be lodged. The pooled money, will be forwarded to the Bureau of Treasury to fund key government projects.

“The projects [could] include the purchase or the establishment by the government of strong cash-generating private or government corporations involved in the downstream petroleum industry, electric power generation, transmission and distribution industry, information and communications technology industry, and other strong cash-generating enterprises,” Manalo said.

The seafarers partylist representative said the establishment of the “OFW Sovereign Fund” will help the government lessen its reliance on taxes and fees as main source of funding for infrastructure projects and will enable the OFWs to directly benefit from the billions of pesos it pours into the Philippine economy in the form of remittances.

“House Bill 6519, now being fine-tuned by a technical working group (TWG) of the committee on overseas workers affairs, provides that no amount from the OFW Sovereign Fund shall be released for covering maintenance and other operating expenses or any capital outlay inconsistent with the provisions of the act,” Manalo said.

Likewise, the proposal also tasks the Bureau of Treasury to help notify and educate all OFWs about the programme, the creation and purpose of the OFW Sovereign Fund and how the investment in the fund will be mutually beneficial to the OFWs and the government.

This is not the first time Filipino migrant workers have been involved as investment partners instead of just source of remittances.

The Dubai EntrePinoy Reintegration Program enables Filipinos based in Dubai to invest in financially-deprived Filipino organic rice farmers in North Cotabato in an adopt-a-farm scheme.

Last October 9, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law creating a bank for OFWs the Overseas Filipino Bank through the acquisition of the Philippine Postal Savings Bank by the Land Bank of the Philippines.

Duterte said overseas OFW should be given provision of priority support for their growing financial need.