Understanding the OFWs Retirement System Act
In recent developments, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has thrown its support behind crucial measures aimed at establishing robust retirement systems for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). House Bill (HB) Nos. 00176 and 8574 have taken center stage as promising steps towards securing the social welfare of OFWs in the years to come.
A Glimpse into the Bills
HB No. 00176: “Overseas Filipino Workers Retirement System Act”
Spearheaded by Sagip party-list Representatives, HB No. 00176, also known as the OFWs Retirement System Act seeks to create a comprehensive retirement framework for OFWs. Furthermore, this groundbreaking bill proposes a package of benefits, including retirement benefits, dependent’s pension, voluntary separation benefits, and a dedicated retirement fund designed to underpin these financial provisions.
HB No. 8574: “Kabayan OFW Pension Act”
In parallel, a Kabayan party-list Representative presents HB No. 8574, known as the “Kabayan OFW Pension Act.” This legislation places emphasis on ensuring the comprehensive protection of OFWs and their dependents against a spectrum of risks, including those associated with old age, disability, sickness, death, unemployment, and other unforeseen contingencies.
A Human Rights Perspective
CHR underscores that these proposed bills, HB 00176 and HB 8574, align with the government’s obligation to safeguard the people’s right to social security. Moreover, this move signifies a momentous shift towards recognizing OFWs as modern-day heroes and acknowledging their invaluable contributions to the nation.
The Challenges Faced by OFWs
It is crucial to recognize that OFWs encounter an array of challenges and vulnerabilities while working far from their homeland and loved ones. Post-employment uncertainties, such as improper compensations and sudden job loss, loom over them, all while they continue to support their families back home.
CHR underscores that social security is an inherent human right, as stipulated in Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The commission also draws attention to General Comment 19 of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which highlights the principles of social security:
- Addressing relevant impacts on livelihood
- Anticipating and covering social risks and contingencies, including old age, unemployment, sickness, family, and child support, among others
- Providing adequate coverage in terms of both amount and duration
- Ensuring accessibility, especially for disadvantaged and marginalized groups, without discrimination
CHR further reminds the Philippines of its obligation as a state party to promote and protect the right to social security.
In conclusion, the backing of HB Nos. 00176 and 8574, or the OFWs Retirement System Act, by the Commission on Human Rights signals a progressive stride towards recognizing the pivotal role of OFWs and securing their future. As the government takes these critical steps, it not only fulfills its international obligations but also stands in solidarity with the tireless heroes who work overseas to support their families and contribute to the nation’s prosperity.
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