In fulfillment of his pledge to establish a bank that will cater to the needs of Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), President Rodrigo Duterte led the ceremonial opening of the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank) in Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila on Thursday, January 18.
The creation of an OFBank is one of the campaign promises of President Duterte meant to provide financial and remittance services tailored to the needs of OFWs.
It is pursuant to the President’s Executive Order 44 signed in September last year approving the LandBank of the Philippines’ acquisition of the Philippine Postal Savings Bank and its conversion into OFBank.
“Mga kababayan ko, I made simple promises during the election. I am not into politics but I would just like to remind you that I kept my campaign very simple, with about four basic fundamental promises and I am very happy that mukhang naibigay ko sa inyo,” President Duterte said in his speech.
OFBank, a wholly owned savings bank subsidiary of Landbank, is expected to benefit all Filipinos overseas including immigrants and resident visa holders.
It will offer wide range of products to OFWs such as deposits, loans and investments, as well as remittance and payment services.
Also among its portfolio will be competitive deposit products including peso ATM savings, time deposit and checking accounts.
Loan products will also be available to OFWs and their beneficiaries to build their own homes and start their own businesses.
Investment products such as Unit Investment Trust Funds (UITF) will also be made available to OFWs and they can also invest in OFBank’s preferred shares to become co-owners of the bank.
OFBank can also be used by OFWs to pay for Social Security System premiums, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, PhilHealth, insurance premiums, credit cards, water bills, housing and business loans, among others.
In terms of remittance services, OFBank will offer the cheapest, fastest, convenient and secured mobile credit-to-account system.
Also in his speech, the President reiterated his resolve to protect OFWs and attend to their needs and concerns.
As proof to this, the President mentioned an earlier meeting at the Malago Clubhouse with Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade along with airport officials regarding a theft incident involving a returning OFW couple at the Clark International Airport.
Duterte met with Jovinal dela Cruz and Rosemarie Versoza and personally extended his apologies for their pilfered luggage assuring them that no similar incident would happen again.
“Ngayon, kanina tinawag ko sila. Sinabi ko sa manager, ‘yan dalawa, in front of Tugade, I said, ‘a similar and one more incident and all of you will go. Look for another job. Be sure na walang zipper mabukas diyan’,” he said.
Also present during the meeting were Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante Gierran and officials of Clark International Airport and Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Another matter concerning OFW the President mentioned in his speech was the condition of Filipino workers in Kuwait.
“We have lost about four Filipino women in the last few months. It’s always in Kuwait,” he said.
Duterte said he has discussed the issue with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano advising the latter to talk to the government of Kuwait.
“So usap kami ni Alan, it’s either — my advise is, we talk to them, state the truth and just tell them that it’s not acceptable anymore. Either we impose a total ban or you can have the correction,” he said.
“I do not want a quarrel with Kuwait. I respect their leaders, but they have to do something about this,” he added. PND