Overseas Filipino workers form a queue at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 check-in counter. A provident savings program has been proposed to protect millions of migrant Filipino workers facing retirement. The move is gaining traction among legislators and non-government groups, though it would take years before a legislation creating it would pass the country's legislative mill. Image Credit: Gulf News

There’s an on-going campaign for the adoption of the “National Provident Savings Program for Filipino Migrants and Families” (NPSP).

1. What is NPSP for expat Filipinos?

It is an open and mandatory provident savings program for Filipino migrants, OFWs, seafarers and their families, both abroad and the Philippines.

For $3.73 per month, OFWs can start investing

2. Why have NPSP at all?

This proposal was formulated, and the campaign spearheaded, by Filipino migrants and their families — including land- and sea-based OFWs, Filipino residents abroad, migrant-returnees, Filipino diaspora organizations and communities), underscoring the urgent and critical need for NPSP.

Campaigners are proposing the NPSP as a pathway to help realize Duterte’s commitment to OFWs, as embodied in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022: “Empowering Overseas Filipinos towards Inclusive and Sustainable Development”.

3. Who are the NPSP proponents?

The NPSP proposal was initiated and formulated by migrants and OFWs, particularly the Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) and Migrants Coordinating Group in Western Visayas (MCG-WV), and supported by the Joint Migration and Development Initiative in the Philippines (JMDI).

This proposal is also supported by the Sub-Committee on International Migration and Development (SCIMD) of the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 6, and the national SCIMD (under the National Economic Development Authority), according to Rex Varona, a convenor of the Asian Migrant Forum, an advocacy group for migrant workers.

4. What happened since then?

The proposal has undergone in-depth consultations for the last two years (2016 and 2017), with organizations of Filipino migrants and families, labour groups, civil society, key government agencies, local governments, banks and financial entities.

The has also consulted policy-makers and relevant stakeholders — including SSS, PAG-IBIG, Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), The Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE), OWWA, DFA, DBP, ABROI, NEDA, ULAP, AMLC, commercial banks, money transfer agencies, cyber-platforms, party- list groups, etc.

5. What can I do about it?

If you're an OFW, try to save & learn about what's going on in this space. Write to your Congressman or Senators to push the legislation of a mandatory provident savings program for OFWs. Propose your own ideas on how to solve this pension "timebomb" issue.