Monday, October 3, 2022

House Panel To Tackle OFW Hospital, Sovereign Wealth Fund

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House Panel To Tackle OFW Hospital, Sovereign Wealth Fund

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The House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs is set to discuss the establishment of a hospital for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and an OFW sovereign fund to promote their welfare and protection in a scheduled meeting with Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan Ople on Tuesday.

In a Laging Handa briefing on Monday, Kabayan Rep. Ron Salo, committee chair, said the agenda of the meeting would focus on the proposals to construct an OFW Hospital, designate a wing in every hospital specifically intended for OFWs and their dependents, and create a sovereign fund to encourage all OFWs to invest their money or remittances with the government.

“Bukas pa po iyong official na organizational meeting po natin and briefing po ng Department of Migrant Workers doon sa komite kung saan po tayo ang nagli-lead po nito. But at the same time mahalaga na nagkaroon din po ito ng ganitong pagmi-meeting with Secretary Toots Ople, sapagkat nailatag din po natin kung ano po iyong mga focus natin (The official organizational meeting and briefing of the committee, which I am heading, with the Department of Migrant Workers will be held tomorrow. But at the same time, this meeting with Secretary Toots Ople will be important because we would lay down the issues that we want to focus on),” Salo said.

Currently, the first OFW Hospital, which offers free medical service to OFWs and their legal dependents, was constructed in San Fernando City, Pampanga.

Meanwhile, the proposed OFW Sovereign Fund shall be used solely by the national government to finance significantly urgent national government and private projects with strong emphasis on productive and job-generating industrial or agricultural projects.

The earnings of OFWs from their investment in the bonds or other debt or investment instrument shall be exempt from income tax and documentary stamp tax.

Salo said Ople would also share developments regarding the agency’s negotiations with other countries to ensure the protection of OFWs before and after their deployment.

He said they would also consider the OFWs’ request for the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. to suspend the hike in premium payments.

“But of course, open po tayo, makikinig po tayo kung ano po iyong pinakamagandang pamamaraan para ma-address po iyong concerns ng mga OFWs po natin related po sa premiums na binabayaran po nila sa kasalukuyan (But of course, we are open to listen and look for the best way to address the concerns of the OFWS related to the premium contributions that they pay currently),” he said.

He said the meeting would also tackle ways to make government services and programs more accessible to OFWs. (PNA)

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