OFW Sovereign Fund bill gets House panel nod

Published August 24, 2020, 3:21 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs (OWA) approved Monday a measure that seeks to institutionalize an Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Sovereign Fund.


TUCP party-list Rep. Democrito Mendoza, panel chairman, carried a motion to approve the substitute bill as well as the committee report on House Bill (HB) No.530 during a virtual hearing. Deputy Minority Leader, ABANG LINGKOD party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano authored the proposal.

“The committee report on House Bill No.530 is deemed approved,” Mendoza said after hearing no objections. There was hardly any discussion on the bill since it had been previously discussed at length by the panel.

Last Aug. 17, the House Committee on Ways and Means headed by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda greenlit the bill’s tax exemption provision, paving the way for the measure’s passage by the Mendoza panel, its main referral.

Paduano reported to the OWA committee chairman that he has accepted all the amendments made to HB No.530 by the Ways and Means panel, with the exception of Salceda’s amendment.

But the author said he was “OK” with it and that he would just raise the matter once the measure reaches plenary consideration.

The measure is designed to encourage all OFWs to invest part of their income or cash remittances with the government, to be pooled under a special fund to be referred to as OFW Sovereign Fund.

Once enacted, the bill will enable OFWs to be investors in nation-building towards the industrialization of the country, allowing, for example, Filipino seafarers to be reintegrated into the Philippine domestic economy by becoming industrialist themselves.

This can be achieved by using the know-how and experience that they’ve acquired in working abroad to be owners and or officers of their own shipbuilding companies and ship yards.

“Proceeds of all the investments lodged in the OFW Sovereign Fund shall be used solely by the national government to finance significantly urgent national government and private projects with strong emphasis on productive and job-generating industrial or agricultural projects, which shall be directed by the President,” the explanatory note of HB No.530 said.