OFW Bank to start operations after appointment of board members

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OFW Bank to start operations after appointment of board members
By Azer Parrocha

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The proposed bank for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will start operations as soon as all appointments of the board of directors are made, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the assurance after Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III raised concerns during Monday night’s Cabinet meeting that no appointment has been made in the bank’s board of directors.

“As soon as there is an appointment with the three members of the board, operations na kaagad ‘yan (it can start operating),” Panelo said in a Palace briefing. He, however, did not elaborate which positions needed to be filled.

The board will be chaired by the Landbank president. Other members are Landbank-designated OFW president as vice chairperson; four Landbank-designated directors or officers as members; a member representing the Department of Labor and Employment; a member representing the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration; and a private sector member representing overseas Filipinos.

Panelo said the OFW Bank has remained non-operational for more than a year since President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 44 on its establishment because board members have yet to be appointed.

“Ang explanation yata ni Secretary Bello, kasi wala pang naa-appoint na tatlong members ng board. (The explanation given by Secretary Bello is that they have yet to appoint three more members of the board),” he said.

Panelo said Duterte has already instructed the Department of Finance (DOF) to speed up the review of the appointments.

“Si Presidente (ang mag-a-appoint) pero vini-vet siya nila Secretary of Finance. Pinapamadali niya yung vetting (The President will appoint but it is being vetted by the Secretary of Finance. He already asked him to speed up the vetting),” he said.

“As soon as the recommendation of the Secretary of Finance is there, makaka-appoint agad si Presidente (the President can already appoint),” he added.

Panelo shrugged off remarks that the appointment of board members is taking too long, noting that this is natural, considering “there is so much work to do in government.”

He, however, assured that the Duterte administration continues to prioritize all problems concerning OFWs.

Meanwhile, Panelo said the DOF is also trying to make the bank digital to make it easier for OFWs to use their smartphones in all of their transactions.

In September 2017, Duterte signed EO 44 directing the Philippine Postal Corp. (PhilPost) and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) to transfer their Postalbank shares to the Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) at zero value.

Under the EO, Landbank was ordered to ensure the capitalization of the Overseas Filipino Bank. (PNA)

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