Changes to Pag-IBIG, a property and savings program in the Philippines, give overseas Filipinos more incentives to invest or buy a property back home, writes MICHELLE BALTAZAR.
The Pag-IBIG (means 'love' in Filipino) fund is synonymous with providing every Filipino family the opportunity to own a house, particularly families on a low or average income. But for overseas Filipinos, it is also a chance to save money in pesos (which has become a stronger currency) and invest in the Philippines.
If you are still hesitating on whether or not you should do your homework on Pag-IBIG, here are five reasons it's time to give it some serious thought.
Reason No. 1 It's a lot cheaper than before. Interest rates charged have been reduced from 11.5% to as low as 7.98% per year.
Reason No. 2 You can buy a higher value property. The maximum loan amount has been increased from P3 million to P6 million.
Reason No. 3 You get a slice of the fund's profits. Last year, members shared P9.28 billion pesos in earnings, tax free.
Reason No. 4 There is safety in numbers. The Overseas Filipino Workers or OFW-membership is one of Pag-IBIG’s fastest growing segments. Today, Pag-IBIG Fund has over 3.2 million members abroad, making up 25% of the total membership of 13.4 million as of June 2013.
Reason No. 5 They're giving away extra perks. In June this year, the fund launched the “Dagdag Ipon” Raffle Promo to reward OFWs who save at least P300 a month. 27 OFW-members have won prizes such as a free round-trip ticket to the Philippines from the country of origin, a vacation package, electronic tablets, and gift cheques in the first preliminary draw held last August 23. Non-winning entries will automatically be included in the second draw on October 25 and the grand draw on December 20.
For more information, go to the Pag-IBIG fund website here.
Source: Philippine Consulate General in Sydney and Pag-IBIG Fund (www.pagibigfund.gov.ph)