The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday, October 12, announced that overseas Filipinos would be able to make use of the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFB) effective January next year.
“The intention here is to cover not only the overseas Filipino workers but also the overseas Filipinos. Because just like our OFWs, our overseas Filipinos are also contributing a lot to Philippine economy,” DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a press briefing in Malacañan.
Bello underscored that putting up a bank that specially caters to overseas Filipinos is “proper and fair,” given that they have helped in bringing $28 billion dollars in remittances in 2016 alone.
Executive Order (EO) No. 44, signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on September 28, 2017, approves the Land Bank of the Philippines’ (LBP) acquisition of Philippine Postal Savings Bank (PPSB).
The said EO likewise authorized PPSB’s conversion into Overseas Filipino Bank (OFB), which aims to efficiently deliver microfinance and micro-insurance products and services for overseas Filipinos.
“This will be converted as a subsidiary bank of the Land Bank,” Bello said.
Bello said the establishment of the OFB was one of the promises of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Ito ay isang pangako na natupad after so many years and so many presidents making the promise. As early as martial law days, itong OFW bank eh na-conceptualize na ‘yan. Naipangako na ‘yan,” Bello said.
“And now, the OF Bank will become a reality because of the sincere desire of our President to service the OFWs,” he said.
“This is in addition to so many promises that he committed to our OFWs na tinupad niya ha. Hindi empty promises ang binitawan ng ating Pangulo sa mga OFWs,” he added.
According to the DOLE chief, satellite offices of the OF Bank will be established in all of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) globally.
“The plan is to capture the market of the remittances from abroad exclusively through the OF Bank,” Bello said.
There are 10.2 million Filipinos worldwide as of 2013, according to the latest estimate of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. Most of them are working or living in the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Latest data from the Central Bank show that OFWs have cash remittances of around U.S.$16.1 billion from January to July this year.