VP urges OFWs to avail of Pag-IBIG program
By Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) Updated June 20, 2011
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay is urging Filipinos abroad to avail themselves of Pag-IBIG’s overseas program, a voluntary savings program aimed at giving Pag-IBIG members the chance to set aside money for their future housing investments.
Binay, who was on a two-week study visit to the US, said Filipino immigrants and naturalized citizens can avail themselves of the Pag-IBIG’s overseas program, which is also call the Modified Pag-IBIG II program.
He said the Pag-IBIG overseas program is solely a savings scheme designed to provide overseas Pag-IBIG members with another savings option that would grant them with a higher yield higher than those given under the Pag-IBIG I membership program covered by Republic Act 9679.
“Those who will avail of the Pag-IBIG overseas program are required to make a minimum contribution of P500 per month with a renewable term of five years,” Binay said.
Binay said the Pag-IBIG overseas programs offers flexible dividend rates and government guaranteed positive gains on the investment money.
He said Pag-IBIG membership is mandatory for Filipinos employed by foreign-based employers, whether they are deployed locally or abroad, under RA 9679.
“All Filipino workers, abroad or in the country, should have equal opportunity to benefit from Pag-IBIG programs. The membership of OFWs in Pag-IBIG was made mandatory to give them a chance to save and fulfill their dreams of owning their own house,” Binay said.
Binay said that under the law, members may only withdraw their contributions upon maturity after 20 years and after making 240 contributions or under any of the other valid grounds for withdrawal such as retirement, separation from service due to health reasons, permanent departure from the country, permanent disability or insanity, and death.
He said Pag-IBIG is a P300-billion private fund, held in trust by government, offering the most attractive terms for savings, multi-purpose and housing loans.
“One could invest as low as P500 a month, without any ceiling, and earn 4.5 percent to 5 percent tax-free interest upon maturity of the investment after five years. Members could borrow the equivalent of 80 percent of their total savings for emergency purposes, or take out a housing loan of up to P3 million each,” Binay said.
Binay said Pag-IBIG has nine million members, including one million overseas Filipino workers.
He said yearly, the Fund extends P36 billion in multi-purpose loans to some three million members, while some 300 families take out housing loans every day of the year.
“After typhoon Ondoy, Pag-IBIG granted P14 billion in calamity loans to 700,000 members. Last year, it granted P40 billion in housing loans,” Binay said.
Binay went to the US to learn more about housing finance at the Wharton School in the University of Pennsylvania.