This time, although he had in the past sent some letters that were attributed to him, our featured reader wishes anonymity in deference to his friendship with a currently high-ranking government official. He has chosen to share his views on the Filipino overseas worker. Read on.

“I would like to give my own suggestion on how our government could make good use of a small part of OFW [overseas Filipino worker] remittances. But before I go on, I would like to share with you a little about myself, which I think is relevant to my suggestion.

“I am a 59-year-old bachelor who has worked in Saudi Arabia, Sultanate of Oman, Libya, State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Bahrain. I have been in the Philippines now since May 2010 and although I had close to P1 million in 2010, and am now managing a six-hectare family-owned tree farm (3,500 mahogany trees and 100 grafted pili nut trees with a small piggery) and am about to start my pili nut business, in hindsight I must admit that I could have saved a lot more if I had practiced financial planning with lots of discipline.

“With the number of years I worked abroad, I don’t consider myself successful and that is why this time, I would like to share my suggestion to others.

No. 1 expense

“In my experience, the no.1 expense of majority of OFWs is for appliances and gadgets and good time. Ang karamihan, ang gusto pag uwi – kahit isang taon pa lang sa abroad – ay may bitbit na TV, sound system, o cellphone etc. at kadalasan ay yung mamahalin pa (Many OFWs who go home, even if they have worked only for a year, want to bring home a TV, sound system or cellphone, often the more expensive brands).

“At paguwi tuwing bakasyon, blowout dito at blowout doon, good time dito at good time doon (And when on vacation at home, they spend on treating out friends and family). The intention really is very good. They want to make tatay, nanay, mga anak at mga kapatid very happy, but usually forget about saving for the future.

“My suggestion is this. I hope the government could devise a program wherein OFWs will be encouraged to save $50 each a month to be deposited exclusively in just one bank (for example, Landbank) that can be withdrawn only after two years with additional interest.

Building OFW homes

“One million OFWs saving $50 million a month will mean P600 million a year or P24 billion a year. This fund could be used exclusively by Pag-IBIG to help in the building of houses for OFWs in pursuance of the ultimate dream of any OFW, which is to have his own house.

“With a little sacrifice and corresponding discipline, saving $50 a month is not much for a regular OFW. But the accumulated fund yearly, I believe, will go a long way in supporting the housing industry of our country particularly for OFWs.

“And those who join the program will at least have ready cash of P50,000 na pang Jollibee at pamamasyal with the family or other worthy expenditures every two years, not to mention their contribution to the building of houses for their fellow OFWs if not also for themselves.

“Thank you very much for writing about issues that matters much to the ordinary Filipino and more power to you.”

NFA in good hands?

Our next letter comes from our suki, Manuel Q. Bondad, who tackles once again the ongoing issue of rice supply for the country. Here goes.

“[It is] an uplifting development that key reform measures for the NFA [National Food Authority] are up for discussion.

“For the state grains agency, under fire of late again for the rise in prices of commercial rice at the retail and wholesale levels, the final outcome of the 2012 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) is revealing.

“Released in January 2014, [the National Statistic Office’s] FIES could be a reliable source of accurate national consumption benchmark (conflicting at 34,000 mt and 31,000 mt daily) [that could prove] indispensable in projecting buffer stock and timely imports as dictated by national interest.

“Not only that, 2.323 million families spend an average of P6,078 yearly per family for NFA rice for home consumption, compared to P10,383 per family (8.253 million families for well milled), and P13,818 per family (17.607 million families for regular milled).

“Excluding rice expenditure outside our homes, the P352 billion (and some 22 million households) top the politicians’ numbers and their PDAP/DAP, enough basis for the professionals (CB [Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, NEDA [National Economic Development Authority], DBP [Development Bank of the Philippines) and the NFA tandem (Francisco Pangilinan/Arthur Juan) to focus on food security.

“With only four percent share of expenditures, all eyes (and fury) are on the NFA when retail prices of commercial rice skyrocket. But beware, commercial traders and even millers. Consumers now turn to NFA imported rice for relief at P27-P32.

“The NFA, long targeted for abolition, can now justify its continued existence.”

Parking for senior citizens

This next letter comes from Gilda “Vanessa” Figueroa complaining about a now growing controversial issue. I hope that local government units and the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs can clear this issue soonest.

“Kudos to your Aug. 28, 2014 article on parking for Seniors.

“May I just inform you that Robinsons Magnolia has only 40 allotted parking slots for seniors; likewise Ayala Trinoma (I forget now how many slots); and others. The senior (citizen) is asked to pay if there are no more available vacant slots.

“Is there a law that says malls and establishments can only give a (limited) number of senior citizen slots?

“Please enlighten because we are made to fall in line and wait for a next available slot for seniors even if there are normal slots available. Sometimes, it takes almost an hour or more until we just give up and relent to pay the parking fee.

“We were told by the guards and the cashier of the parking: either we wait indefinitely or we are ought to pay.

“I hope you can bring this issue out there to inform the authorities as this is causing seniors unnecessary stress. I hope the local government can look into this matter for the protection of all senior citizens of the Philippines.” Source: philstar.com/business

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