Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III yesterday said that the OFW Bank and ID system, both meant to benefit and ease the lives of overseas Filipino workers, will be operational this year.

“They will be launched this year. The OFW identification card system will be put in place in March while the OFW Bank will be operational by November,” Bello said.

The OFW Bank and ID system were both approved by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to improve the lives of OFWs.

“Ang mga OFW natin nagsasakripisyo. Sa OFW ID at OFW Bank, matutulungan sila ng gobyerno na mas maging mabilis, maaayos, at kapakipakinabang ang kanilang mga transaksyon” Bello said.

According to Bello, the OFW ID system is a major component of the Integrated DOLE System (iDOLE) which links the databases of DOLE with the databases of other government agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Social Security System, Commission of Higher Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

“The OFW can present the card to government agencies for verification of his information and processing of document, and he can even use the card to transact business with the OFW Bank and other government banks,” he said.

Bello added that the OFW card will lessen, if not eradicate concerns on the authenticity of documents presented since the verification of the documents can be done online.

“Mawawala na rin yung mga pekeng dokumento tulad ng training o school certificate. Malalaman kaagad kung authentic yung dokumento dahil maaaring i-validate online,” he said.

The OFW ID card system will also lessen the long queue and time spent in transacting with government since the government services can be accessed online.

The ID card will also serve as a debit card and an ATM card for OFW banks as well as a Beep card for the LRT and MRT.

Meanwhile, Bello said the OFW Bank will cater to remittances and other banking needs of Filipino migrant workers all over the world. The OFWs will become part owners of the bank through shares of stocks and have their own credit facilities.

Establishment of an OFW bank is among the campaign promises of the President. The ownership of the bank is open to all 4.8 million OFWs at P1,000 per share. Total OFW remittance for 2016 stood at US$ 28 billion.

The labor chief said that the OFW Bank will be among the largest commercial banks in the country to be bankrolled by key government and private agencies.

The capital for the OFW bank amounting to P3 billion will come from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, the Employees Compensation Commission and the OFWs themselves.

###celestemaring

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