Philippine Congress Pushes Bills for Retirement Benefits, Assistance to OFWs

A House of Representatives panel has formed a technical working group to consolidate three bills seeking to provide retirement benefits and welfare assistance to overseas Filipino workers.

The House committee on overseas workers affairs, chaired by Angkla Partylist Rep. Jesulito Manalo, tasked the TWG to draft a substitute bill for House Bill Nos. 3746, 5470, and 7228.

HB 3746, authored by Sagip Partylist Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, seeks to establish an Overseas Filipino Workers Social Security and Retirement System.

Marcoleta said that there is no law that would allow the OFWs to neither receive retirement pay at an earlier age nor provide voluntary separation benefits.

He said that the proposed retirement system would provide the OFWs with funds they can use for business opportunities or other productive endeavors when they decide to finally retire from work.

“As our modern day heroes, OFWs deserve to be given appropriate benefits and be accorded greater security after their employment days are over,” Marcoleta said in his explanatory note.

Under the bill, all OFWs duly registered with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration are required to remit five percent of their gross monthly income for at least 10 years.

HB 5470, authored by Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano, seeks to create the Overseas Filipino Workers Pension Fund.

Alejano said the proposed fund would provide OFWs and their families a guaranteed capital to start anew in the event that they meet an unforeseen misfortune in the course of their work.

The bill states that the fund shall be administered by a pension fund board with the Labor Secretary as chairman.

HB 7228, authored by Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, seeks to provide for the protection of OFW dependents by setting up for them a special pension fund in the event of income loss due to death or disability.

Castelo stressed the need for the government to set up a special pension fund for the protection of the dependents of OFWs who lose their income via death or disability.

“There has to be state intervention whereby they are protected economically if this scenario occurs,” he said.