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Cotabato OFWs hail EO 44

The administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s plan to create a bank intended for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) will provide some relief to recurring problem on finances which OFWs repeatedly encountered, overseas workers here said.

“Good news, it will help address our woes on high rates of remittances money couriers charged us,” Krystel Gem Fernandez, 24, an OFW working in one of Dubai’s famous shopping malls, said in an email statement.

Fernandez said the government’s plan will give relief to OFWs who are working hard overseas to send the “fruit of their labor” safely to their loved ones in the country.

Meanwhile, another OFW, who is now based in Cotabato City after working for six years abroad,, said the creation of Overseas Filipino Bank is a welcome development, especially for her who was not as lucky as other overseas workers.

Bai Lining Akon, 38, a resident of a town near Cotabato City, said in a phone interview that the creation of a financial firm working for OFWs welfare came as she was struggling where and how to restart life after her misfortunes overseas.

Akon was among the workers in Saudi Arabia who was abused by her employers. Akon, who worked as househelp of a wealthy Arab family, was forced to go into hiding from authorities (locally known as TNT) for having expired working visas.

Aside from being abused and maltreated, she was not allowed to visit Philippine consulate to process her working papers. She fled from employers and was eventually arrested and deported.

Now back home in Maguindanao, Akon is struggling where to find money to start small business. The OFB, for her, is the answer.

Akon said she would patiently wait for the OFB to operate and provide assistance to unsuccessful OFWs. She said many like her would surely welcome the good news.

Through EO 44 that the President approved on Sept 28 and made public the other day, the Land Bank of the Philippines has acquired the Philippine Postal Bank to be turned into a lender for OFWs.

As of June this year, the Philippine Postal Bank has Php9.29 billion total assets, according to records of the Bangko Sental ng Pilipinas.

Edwin Fernandez / PNA