Cong Olivarez pursues a different kind of 'sovereign' fund

Another proposed "sovereign" fund has been filed in the House of Representatives, this time for the benefit of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Parañaque City 1st district Rep. Edwin Olivarez (Facebook)

Parañaque City 1st district Rep. Edwin Olivarez filed last Jan. 19, 2023 House Bill (HB) No.6804 or the proposed Act creating the OFW Sovereign Fund.

Under the measure--which was filed amid the public debates and national government exposure to the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), a sovereign wealth fund--OFWs are asked to chip in to a pool of funds that would be beneficial to both them and the government.

“The OFW Sovereign Fund is intended to provide for a safe alternative for OFWs and their immediate family members in investing their hard-earned income to be used for significantly urgent national government and private projects with a strong emphasis on productive and job-generating industrial or agricultural projects,” read the explanatory note of Olivarez's bill.

Through this the OFW Sovereign Fund, the government would be "able to provide an avenue for the OFWs to better utilize their monies while simultaneously contributing to the creation of programs and plans that are of national importance,” HB No.6804 stated.

The measure says the Bureau of Treasury shall create a program designed to encourage OFWs to invest in the proposed sovereign fund. There are an estimated 10 million OFWs spread across the world.

The OFW Sovereign Fund cannot be used to finance expenses of the government and the investment of the OFW shall be exempted from any and all kinds of taxes, it added.

The measure is pending before the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs chaired by Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo.

The controversial MIF was filed in late November 2022.