MANILA, Philippines – A lawmaker from the Kabayan Partylist has introduced a bill that seeks to establish dedicated social security benefits and retirement protection for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
Rep. Ron Salo, (Kabayan Party-list) the Chairman of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, filed House Bill No. 8574, known as the Kabayan OFW Pension Act, to address the needs and vulnerabilities faced by OFWs abroad. The new House Bill legislation aims to create a unique, separate pension and social security system specifically tailored to the circumstances of OFWs.
The solon mentioned that the current social security system enables OFWs to become voluntary members with a specific scheme approach and does not compensate, and empower the migrant workers.
According to Salo, during their consultations with OFWs worldwide, it has become evident that creating a distinct pension system for OFWs is a long-standing and pressing desire. He further explained that after years of hard work in foreign countries and faithfully remitting their earnings to their families in the Philippines, OFWs often face a lack of sufficient, adequate social protection during their later years.
Salo emphasized that this New House Bill is a response to the long-standing and urgent aspiration of OFWs. As they leave their homeland to seek employment opportunities abroad. These dedicated individuals endure long periods of separation from their families, cultural adjustment, and the challenges of living and working in unfamiliar environments. They toil tirelessly, often in physically demanding or hazardous jobs, to provide a better future for their loved ones back home.
The new House Bill outlines guidelines for retirement benefits, monthly pension, death benefits, permanent disability benefits, funeral benefits, and potentially other financially viable benefits for OFWs. By establishing a dedicated retirement fund, the New Bill aims to provide financial security for OFWs during their senior years and serve as a safety net in case of job loss, disability, or death.
The Social Security System for OFWs is specific and distinctly designed for them. It acknowledges the unique circumstances and vulnerabilities they faced as migrant workers.
Salo highlighted that providing retirement benefits and pensions to OFWs is a tangible way to express genuine gratitude for their sacrifices while working abroad. Furthermore, the state has its duty to provide them with sufficient social protection when coming back home.
Salo stressed that ” Our OFWs are our vital contributors to our country. Despite their sacrifices, OFWs display resilience, perseverance, and a strong work ethic. Their determination and unwavering dedication contribute significantly to the Philippines economy, as their remittances serve as a lifeline for countless families and fuel economic growth. The sacrifices made by OFWs deserve recognition and appreciation for their immeasurable contribution to the nation and the profound love they demonstrate for their families and to our country.”
According to data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, OFWs recorded a record-high total inflow of USD 36.14 billion in December 2022, with total cash remittances reaching USD 3.16 billion, a 5.8% increase from the previous year’s figures.