The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has not yet contributed funds to the state-owned Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank), the bank’s president said on June 29.

OFBank President and CEO Leila Martin said in a Laging Handa government briefing that the bank was counting on the agency to release funding in the near future.

“Wala pong funds sa [OFBank], sa ngayon, ang OWWA. We hope that OWWA will soon provide some funds to the OFBank,” Martin said.

The Department of Budget and Management earlier advised President Rodrigo Duterte to allocate an extra P5.2 billion for repatriated overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs) expenses on food, transport, and accommodation, after the OWWA said it would be on “red-alert” by mid-May once its P11-billion budget was depleted for such expenses.

As of May 31, 37,199 accounts were opened in the OFBank, with depositors coming from 113 countries. Filipinos worldwide have saved P256.29 million with the bank, and invested P40 million in “Premyo” bonds and P8.2 million in retail treasury bonds.

Martin assured depositors that their savings were “safe and secure” with the digital bank, as security protocols like protection of user IDs and passwords and the use of one-time passwords (OTPs) were being implemented.

“Nakakasiguro po ang ating mga kababayan na safe and secure and kanilang savings sa OFBank as we have embedded security protocols in our system,” Martin said.

Launched virtually in June 2020, OFBank is the first branchless digital-only government bank.

It aims to give “accessible, secure, and more convenient banking products and services” to overseas Filipinos, OFWs and their beneficiaries. President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 44 establishing the bank in September 2017. Jelo Ritzhie Mantaring