CHR supports retirement systems for OFWs
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) supports proposed measures that aim to establish retirement systems for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
In a statement, the CHR said House Bill (HB) Nos. 00176 and 8574 are steps that could ensure the social security of OFWs in the future.
Sagip party-list Reps. Rodante Marcoleta and Caroline Tanchay filed HB No. 00176, otherwise known as the “Overseas Filipino Workers Retirement System Act,” which seeks to provide “retirement benefits, dependent’s pension, voluntary separation benefits, and a set retirement fund to support these benefits and similar gratuities” for OFWs.
Meanwhile, Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo introduced HB No. 8574, or the “Kabayan OFW Pension Act,” which recommends “adequate protection to the OFWs and their dependents against the risks of old-age, disability, sickness, death, unemployment, and other contingencies.”
“The proposed bills – HB 00176 and HB 8574 – are seen as steps toward fulfilling the government’s obligation to uphold the people’s right to social security,” the CHR said, adding that it is high time that the government give back and protect OFWs, which have been touted as the country’s modern-day heroes.
The right body pointed out that OFWs face challenges, risks, and vulnerability working far away from their homeland and their loved ones. It noted OFWs’ post-employment uncertainties amid prevailing circumstances of improper compensations and sudden job loss while still needing to support their respective families.
The CHR stressed that social security is a human right under Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. It also noted General Comment 19 of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights – that social security should:
- address relevant impacts on livelihood
- anticipate and cover social risks and contingencies, including old age, unemployment, sickness, and family and child support among others
- be adequate in both amount and duration
- be accessible, especially to disadvantaged and marginalized groups without discrimination
It reminded the Philippines that it has the obligation to promote and protect right to social security as a state-party.
The CHR further said that the current system for retirement does not respond to the situations of OFWs, noting that, for instance, the Social Security System can only be used at the age of 60 since it does not allow early retirement for members.