Senator Sonny Angara has urged overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to save up for retirement by investing their earnings in a Personal Equity Retirement Account (PERA) – the country’s first-ever voluntary retirement account with tax incentives.

“Malaking sakripisyo para sa ating mga OFW ang magtrabaho abroad at iwan ang kanilang pamilya para mabigyan sila ng magandang buhay. This is why we encourage our OFWs to save and invest their earnings here in the country so they can secure a comfortable retirement and be with their families,” said Angara, one of the authors of the PERA Law or Republic Act 9505.

PERA is a voluntary and personal account specifically for retirement, where OFWs can invest up to PhP 200,000 annually. Non-OFWs can only make a maximum contribution of PhP 100,000 annually.

Even if the OFW is abroad, his or her spouse and children can open a PERA account in behalf of the OFW.

“Totoong ang pagpapaaral sa mga anak ang pinakamahalagang investment ng ating mga OFW para guminhawa ang buhay ng kanilang pamilya. Pero dagdag dito, malaking tulong ang PERA para masiguro na may naipong pera ang ating mga kababayan abroad pag-uwi ng Pilipinas,” the veteran legislator said.

Upon reaching retirement at the age of 55, all payments or distributions will be tax-exempt. This can be either in lump sum, a pension for a definite period, or for a lifetime.

Early withdrawals are allowed, if he or she has made contributions for at least five years, but will be subject to a penalty, except in cases when the individual is totally disabled due to an accident or hospitalization.

“PERA investments have higher returns because it is a tax-free investment income. PERA supplements the social pension Filipinos can get from SSS or GSIS. It especially targets OFWs, who may not be contributing to either of these funds,” the seasoned lawmaker explained.

A national survey on financial inclusion conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that only 11 percent of Filipinos save for retirement or old age.

PERA will help and encourage Filipinos to save up for their sunset years or for emergency medical situations.

The youthful senator noted that PERA will help and encourage Filipinos to save up for their sunset years or for emergency medical situations.

“Marami sa ating mga Pilipino ang hindi nakaugalian mag-ipon o hindi alam kung saan mag-iinvest. Nakalulungkot na may ilang OFW ang nabiktima din ng bitcoin scam kamakailan lamang. Para siguradong ligtas at malaki ang kita, hinihikayat natin sila na mag-invest sa PERA,” he added.

As of last year, the BSP has accredited Banco de Oro (BDO) and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) as PERA institutional administrators.

PERA investments products include unit investment trust funds, share of stock of mutual funds, insurance pension products, government securities, and other financial products.

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