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.
Meanwhile, Bello said the Duterte administration has not abandoned the peace talks with the communist rebels.
Bello said the government has not sent any formal notice to terminate the peace talks.
“When the President mentioned about not talking to them, probably, our President was referring to the two cancelled talks that we were supposed to hold or would have held some time in June, and then in July,” Bello explained.
“But that did not mean that the talks were cancelled or terminated. And we have been consistently saying that in order to terminate the talks, either of the parties have to serve the party with a written notice of termination. And the termination takes effect 30 days after receipt of that notice of termination,” he said.
Bello said President Duterte has not abandoned his legacy of bringing lasting peace to the country.
“The talks are alive and we are just waiting for the President to give us the instruction to go back to the peace table,” Bello said.
Palace lauds World Bank’s recognition of PH’s migrant workers’ support system
In the same briefing, meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella welcomed the report of the World Bank (WB) entitled, “Migrating to Opportunity,” which cited the Philippines’ good support system for migrant workers.
The said report noted that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) have clearly defined institutional responsibilities.
“The World Bank cited that in the Philippines, attendance in orientation seminars is required before receiving a license and for renewal of license,” Abella said.
“World Bank also stated that the country has made it easier for migrant workers to find jobs abroad through the Department’s effort of listing job opportunities,” he added.
Officer-in-Charge for DOH, DICT named
Abella meanwhile announced the appointment of Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Herminigildo Valle as Officer-in-Charge of the DOH and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Eliseo Mijares Rio, Jr. as Officer-in-Charge of the DICT.
Their designation was made “to ensure the continuous and effective delivery of public service,” Abella said.
The appointment papers of Valle and Rio were signed by President Duterte on October 10, 2017.
PDEA widens scope of anti-drug ops
Abella meanwhile said that the memorandum of the President making the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) the sole agency to conduct anti-drug operations targets “higher echelons” of the drug syndicates.
According to Abella, the administration has seen the degradation in street distribution networks, which is why the government is now targeting high-level drug syndicates as well as their protectors in government.
“PDEA will now bring policy focus, expert performance standards, high-level coordination of oversight, and centralized intelligence collection to the war on drugs,” Abella said.
“PDEA will also lead in establishing a broad anti-drug coalition, working with agencies, LGUs, civil society, the Church, business, academe and media to push prevention and rehabilitation initiatives,” he said.
“There is now an elevation of the campaign against illegal drugs and so, PDEA has now widened its scope,” he added. ###PND