ANTIPOLO CITY, August 13, 2010—International migrants’ watchdog, Migrante International commends Vice President and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chair Jejomar Binay on his decision to suspend the implementation of the mandatory Home Mutual Development (Pag-IBIG) Fund for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
In a statement, Migrante’s regional chapter in the Middle East said that OFWs allover the region are elated with Binay’s decision but they want to reiterate that Pag-IBIG membership should be optional, not mandatory.
John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-ME regional coordinator suspects that the depleted Pag-IBIG funds is the reason behind why the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and Pag-IBIG had entered into an agreement of making the membership to the latter, compulsory.
“We would not allow PAG-IBIG and the national government to easily make us milking cows by imposing unnecessary fees and charges without any assurance that membership would bring us any benefits,” Monterona said.
Monterona, meanwhile said, the government should also look into the fact that members of the Pag-IBIG Board of Trustees receive a handsome amount of P130,000 (US$2,871.15 based on the prevailing exchange rates) in salaries, allowances and other perks.
Calling the project “corrupt and anomalous,” the OFW group said that the said type of passport is overpriced abroad.
In Hong Kong, the passport costs around US$60 while in Saudi Arabia, it is US$64. The e-passport in the Philippines only costs around US$20.51 – $25.91 (P950 – 1,200). (Written for CBCPNews.com)