Posts Tagged ‘OFW’

OFWs demanding more auto loans

May 30, 2008

The overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs) demand for auto loans is growing at an unprecedented rate. This in turn is grabbing the eyeballs of the banks which are keen on cashing in on this trend. Banks have seen a rise in demand for vans, Asian utility vehicles and sports utility vehicles. This is clearly evident in the statistics which show that about 22-23 per cent of new auto loans are being released by the Philippine National Bank.

 

Today the OFWs are no longer themselves to buying houses and housing appliances but also vehicles which are as good as any other asset. This is accounted to the fact that more OFWs are employed as highly skilled professionals in the developed countries which gives them the financial power to purchase more. Most of these OFWs take up an average loan of about P700,000 with a tenor of three years. These clients usually pay 20 per cent in upfront equity and amortise the rest.

 

It would not be easy to say whether this trend of buying cars and other vehicles is a good idea or not simply because it depends on a number of things like, the capacity to pay, benefits of getting a vehicle, costs of getting a car and other associated risks. In a nutshell, the OFWs should take into account all the features of risks involved before thinking of making an investment like this.

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Land Bank now offering easy Padala remittance service

May 20, 2008

The Land Bank of the Philippines has come up with a new set of remittance services that would cater to the needs of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) living in countries like Italy, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, UAE, Kuwait and the US. The service is going to help the OFWs to transfer funds from a local Land Bank account to a foreign currency LandBank account. Additionally, the users would also get two notable services, the iCheque and iWires that would allow them to issue checks and wire transfer through their online accounts.

 

The easy Padala service is a blessing for several million OFWs living away from home as they get to avail remittance services online and be assured that their money has reached their loved ones on time. This facility has made it quite easier for the OFWs to remit money and remain sure. The service is in initial stages and is expected to expand to other countries having OFW presence in the days to come.

Payroll System faces ire

May 19, 2008

The Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) organisations are criticising the proposal to bring back the Marcos era payroll system which compels an OFW to remit up to 70 per cent of his monthly salary through the banking channels. They are calling this system ‘dictatorial’ and unjustified. These organisations are instead demanding a ‘free remittance system’.

 

In the early 80s, President Ferdinand Marcos had signed the law Executive order 857 (Forced Remittance Law) which forced the migrant workers to remit 70 percent (for land based migrants) and 100 per cent (for sea based migrants) of their earnings through overseas employment. Non banking channels were strictly prohibited and as a result it faced widespread protests in the Middle East, Honk Kong, Japan and Europe.

 

Migrante feels the pay rolling system is a failure among the Arab employers who are not keen on spending more time to arrange for the remittance of an OFWs salary. Many also feel that the recruitment agencies could take advantage of such a situation. They feel the very fact that the proposal was made by a recruiter who earns a lot of money through the OFWs makes it clear that the OFWs’ interests would be put on hold for the benefit of the recruitment agencies.

More jobs for OFWs in Saudi Arabia

May 16, 2008

With the fears of economic stagnation coming true, this would surely bring a cheer for those who need to work in the Middle East and have been perturbed by the sudden change of events. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary, Marianito Roque said that the number of OFWs in Saudi Arabia is set to reach 1.8 million before the end of 2008. This again has proved that the Middle East remains one of the top destinations for the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). If this expectation turns true more than 300,000 skilled workers from the Philippines will be hired for working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). This prediction has been stemmed by the fact around four super cities in Saudi Arabia will be constructed in the next five years which would require hiring more foreign workers. The project is expected to boost the weak economy and generate more employment opportunities for the OFWs.

 

In the recent past the situation in Saudi Arabia has not really been smooth. Several thousand OFWs were deported back home and reports of maltreatments, harassments and torture have been rampant. This evoked strong reaction from all quarters and the demand for the security of the OFWs has become quite intense.

Villar presses for repatriation

May 15, 2008

As the voices of protest and demands for repatriation get stronger, Senate President Manny Villar has also shown solidarity towards the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and is pushing for the establishment of a P1 billion fund to provide for early repatriation and adequate assistance to Filipinos in distress. Villar said that adequate measures should be taken to ensure the welfare of millions of OFWs who are living away from home. He said that the constitution, the Labor Code, the migrant workers act and several other executive orders are intended to safeguard the interests of the OFWs but despite this the OFWs continue to live in distress. He further added that the reports of maltreatments, harassments and abductions have swelled in the recent past and the Philippine embassies and consulates have been home to several such distressed OFWs. He made an important point when he said that the funding for repatriation and assistance are intended only for legal OFWs and not for all. He called out for a change in this to protect every OFW. Villar has filed Senate Bill 2231, that seeks to cover both documented and undocumented OFWs in the assistance program of the government. It also adds a special mechanism to reduce the plight of the OFWs by creating a P1 billion Special Fund which can be used for repatriation, medical expenses and migration fees for overstaying Filipinos. A welcome gesture for sure!

Business guide for the OFWs

May 14, 2008

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) has developed a compilation called the Investment and Business Guide for Overseas Filipinos which is aimed at helping the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to learn about the abundant business opportunities that they can avail for a better future. This would not only help the Filipinos to turn towards investment but would also make the Philippines, an investor friendly country. The idea is to serve those OFWs who have earned a considerable amount away from home and are looking at the prospects of returning and investing in their native land. The Commission for this purpose has identified major investment areas that gaining ground in the country, these include, development of tourism, leisure facilities, investing in franchise among others. Also on the list are export and agribusiness, oil industry, asset and property management, etc. for those thinking of investing in the rural or semi urban regions the compilation includes information that would help the OFWs to choose from a wide ranging variety.

 

As for those who are not too sure about the whole investment business but are keen on investing their money back home, the compilation is a boon as it not only gives afar ranging idea about investment but also focuses on various aspects such as, application for licenses, registration, and accreditation of specific business entities.

Dirty money

May 13, 2008

The latest data issued by AMLC reveals that of the 18,269 suspicious transactions the Anti Money Laundering Council flagged for the last years, none of these are linked to the formal or informal flows of earnings by the OFWs. In recent times, cases of frauds and irregular transactions have been quite rampant. The data however puts the OFWs in a safe position as they appear compliant to the money laundering regulations.

 

According to World Bank ranking, remittance flow to the Philippines is the world’s third largest. As the remittances become the backbone of the Philippine economy, it becomes increasingly important to monitor the remittance flow. It has however become quite difficult to keep a vigil eye on this since the whole business of money transfer is no longer controlled by the banking institutions. Technology is playing a big part and the need to develop new technology to find solution to the problem has got intense. Mobile remittance in way reduces chances of frauds as the statements are widely available and the money is not carried in person.

 

But as the OFWs get kudos for discouraging the whole concept of dirty money, news of a man admitting to transferring around US $15 million to bank accounts owned by co-conspirators in the Philippines comes as a bolt. As they say one rotten apple spoils the barrel!

Investment worries for the OFWs

May 12, 2008

The Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) have often found themselves supporting their families by saving some money and planning for a better future. In the present day however the OFWs are concentrating on finding ways that would help them to utilise their hard earned money properly. Most OFWs are now trying to explore ways by which their money can be invested in their own country where they would return once they have the means to support their families. But the lack of awareness on the subject has left them clueless. The OFWs are unsure about the future of their savings and investments. They often find themselves wondering whether investing in a particular sector would reap more benefits or whether saving their money would be the right decision.

 

Experts believe buying a residential property is the best that the OFWs can do to save their money and acquire an asset that would benefit them in the long run. Property, they say could be a hedge against inflation. Considering the rise in the demand for better investment solutions several property development companies and consultants are now venturing into the arena and catering to the demands of OFWs living in countries like the UAE, US and Japan. The OFWs too have been taking full advantage of the situation and are availing the facilities provided by them.

Measures taken by the Philippine government

May 8, 2008

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In wake of the sudden changes that have rocked the entire Philippine economy, the government has now decided to take some preventive steps to put brakes on the speculations that are doing the rounds that the economy is going to stagnate if the US economy does not recover soon. The high prices of essential commodities including rice which is a staple diet brought a lot of criticism for the government which failed to gauge the magnanimity of the problem. But all’s not lost and the government is now trying to make up for the loss that it suffered in the recent past.

 

The government recently launched Certificates of Deposits (CDs) and is now looking into retail treasury bonds. Philippine Consul General Domingo Nolasco has said that the government is seriously looking at encouraging the Overseas Filippino Workers (OFWs) to invest in the housing sector. The Central Bank has also initiated a financial literacy campaign to promote OFW investments.

 

But it is still not clear whether these initiatives would fetch results because the steps have been proposed and not implemented. Once they are put into practice it would be interesting to see whether they actually help the economy or not. The recent hedge funds for instance met with a lot of criticism because they seemed to be targeting just the business houses and the remittance firms and not the common OFW who has to bear the brunt of the economic pressures that are brewing across the globe.

G-Cash

May 7, 2008

G cashIt is indeed interesting to see how the remittance business has evolved over the years and an array of facilities has come to aid this thriving industry. G-Cash is again a success story in itself which has become a trendsetter of sorts. Launched in 2004 the service has now grown quite stupendously and there are around 5000 retail outlets and more than 500 G Cash partners across India.

 

Initially when it started out there were just three anchor services, international and domestic remittance, P2P transfers and payments for retail purchases. G Cash brought in a series of revolution and enabled the subscribers to be m-Commerce enabled. The best part about it has been the facility that the non card holders avail from it. It enables its subscribers who may not have a card or bank account to get benefits from the service. By doing so it has attracted a lot of subscribers who could not avail a lot of facilities before.

 

Again unlike SMART which operated jointly with BDO, Globe keeps a record of all transactions and arranges settlement between the retailers and the G-Cash customers. Needless to say it ahs gain a lot of popularity and is a preferred choice any given day. It is valid in countries like India and Philippines which receive high volumes of remittances every year.