MANILA, JULY 11, 2007
(STAR) By Iris C. Gonzales - The Department of Finance (DOF) said it would study the proposal of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to come up with bonds that would cater specifically to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Finance Undersecretary Roberto Tan said the department would look into the impact of the proposed bond and see how it would affect the market or whether it would compete with government debt papers.

“We are now studying that. We will look into it. It is already being explored,” Tan said.

The BSP proposed the bonds in an effort to help OFWs and their beneficiaries put their earnings in worthy investments. The BSP said the proposed bonds may be modeled after the retail Treasury bonds in order to avoid cross-border regulatory problems.

BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said the RTB model is a good example of how overseas Filipinos could buy such instruments either directly in the Philippines or through their beneficiaries.

Finance sources, however, said that although the bonds would benefit OFWS, the design and the guidelines have to be thoroughly studied as the government may have difficulty selling them overseas and complying with individual regulatory rules of each country they are sold in.

Tetangco, however, said the bonds are more necessary than ever to prevent the increase in remittances from being used primarily for consumption spending.

The DOF’s Tan stressed that the department is supportive of the plan to help OFWS but would just have to study first the impact of the proposed bonds and how it would be implemented.

The government has been coming up with investment projects for OFWs to help them park their earnings in worthy long-term investments so that they would be able to save their money.

OFWs and their families have caused alarm over the steady rise of the peso against the greenback, as this diminishes the value of their dollar earnings.

There are at least eight million Filipinos abroad working as domestic helpers, seamen, medical professionals, teachers, accountants and engineers, among other professions.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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