However, many OFW’s also dream of moving back to the Philippines to live out their retirement days, presumably within their own four walls. To accomplish this, many of them sign up for something called the PAG-IBIG fund.
Officially called the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), the PAG-IBIG fund is basically a national savings program. Filipino citizens and their employers (if the former is gainfully employed) typically make regular contributions to it for about twenty (20) years. After this period, the beneficiary would be eligible to claim the entire amount saved, the equivalent contributions made by their employer (provided they were gainfully employed throughout the period), and the accumulated dividends.
True to its name, the HDMF or PAG-IBIG fund also provides affordable financing for Filipinos who wish to build their own homes in the future. (PAG-IBIG members can file for housing loans after a certain period of time if they meet certain requirements.)
OFW’s who wanted to receive benefits from the PAG-IBIG fund typically made voluntary contributions, but recently, all sea-based and land-based OFW’s (e.g., seamen, domestic helpers who retain their Filipino citizenship) were required to become members. The set-up does remain optional for Filipino immigrants in other countries.
Now that we’ve established all that, let’s take a look at some common OFW FAQ’s about the PAG-IBIG fund:
1. How do you apply to become a member?
If you are still in the Philippines, you should enroll in PAG-IBIG before you leave the country. Those who are between 18-65 years old are eligible for voluntary membership, and can apply for this online through this link. You can also download membership forms from the official PAG-IBIG website prior to submitting them at the nearest PAG-IBIG office.
For OFW’s who are already abroad, you’ll need to download both the Membership Registration Form (MRF-FPF095) and the Member’s Data Form (MDF-FPF0909) from the link provided in the previous paragraph. After you’ve finished filling these up, you can submit these to the PAG-IBIG Information Desk at the Philippine Embassy or Consular in your country.
It should also be noted that you will need to update your records in case of any changes in your personal information, such as your civil status, for instance.
2. How do OFW’s fund their contributions from abroad? How do they pay their PAG-IBIG home loans from Australia, for instance?
According to the overseas accounts department of the HDMF-POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration), family members and loved ones of OFW’s can actually pay for the latter’s contributions on their behalf.
Should you prefer to fund your own contributions, you can do so through the following channels:
a.) Banks. If you have online bill payment accounts with Philippine National Bank (PNB), Metrobank, or Asia United Bank (AUB), you can use them to fund your PAG-IBIG account from abroad.
b.) Money Remittance Services. The HDMF accepts monthly contributions via certain money remittance service providers like Ventaja, so check if your favorite company has this option.
3. How much should I pay every month?
The minimum contribution per member is Php100, but if you want to avail of a housing loan from the HDMF in the future, that number goes up to Php200 monthly.
All payments are shouldered by the OFW PAG-IBIG members since there is no official employer counterpart for them. Thus, they are also encouraged to make bigger contributions every month if they would like to avail of a bigger amount once the savings account matures in 20 years.
4. Can a foreign employer make contributions to an OFW’s PAG-IBIG fund?
Yes, a foreign employer can offer to contribute to an OFW’s PAG-IBIG fund, but bear in mind that they are outside the Philippine government’s jurisdiction and are not strictly required to do this as a result.
5. What are the benefits of being a PAG-IBIG member?
For starters, it helps you save money for the future. It also allows you and any of your beneficiaries back home to avail of short-term loans, if needed, especially if you wish to put up your own house.
Lastly, the dividends you will receive at the end of the maturity period is exempted from taxes.