BAGUIO CITY – Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III revealed the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) will suffer losses that will go as high as over P16 billion in deposits of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) once the government will succeed in establishing the OFW Bank which could become the largest commercial bank in the country in the future/
Bello, who is also a director of the government depository bank, said the put up of the OFW Bank was a promise by President Rodrigo R. Duterte to further advance the welfare of the country’s unsung heroes and the members of their families for them to have secure investments for their hard earned money abroad.
“Many commercial banks are apprehensive over the government’s efforts to realize the put up of the OFW Bank but we are firm in fulfilling what was promised our millions of OFWs wanting to secure their hard earned money and have long-term investments for the benefit of their siblings,” Bello stressed.
The labor chief claimed the accumulated money of the country’s migrant workers lodged with the Overseas Workers welfare Administration (OWWA) which initially amounts to over P19.8 billion is more than enough to provide the needed capital for the operationalization of the bank which is projected to start by the end of this year or by early next year.
However, he guaranteed that even if the P16 billion deposits of the OFWs in the Land Bank will be transferred to the OFW Bank, the government depository bank will still be stable because of the enormous assets that it was able to acquire over the past several decades that it had existed and operated.
Bello added President Duterte was already briefed on the mechanisms on the put up of the OFW Bank through an earlier memorandum and he plans to take up the matter during their next Cabinet meeting before making the ambitious project work for the benefit of the OFWs and their families.
He emphasized if all the 48 million OFWs will buy a single share valued at P1,000, the OFW Bank will have assets amounting to at least P4.8 trillion which is bigger than the country’s P3.36 trillion budget for next year.
The government needs at least P3 billion to purchase the Philippine Postal Bank and covert it from a thrift bank to a commercial bank that will accumulate the P19.9 billion OWWA funds and the funds of the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC) to have an initial capital of P80 billion during its initial year of operation.
He encouraged the present and former OFWs and their families to patronize the services to be offered by the OFW Bank once it will start operation for them to be able to have a sustainable source of income through the provision of good service, proper security and sufficient livelihood opportunities which they could wisely use to improve their living condition and help in improving the country’s economic growth.