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Innovative Remittance Service is Catalyst for Social Change
New Singapore business to empower foreign workers with their finances
SINGAPORE, November 2004 Filipino maids in Singapore will soon be able to remit money directly to schools, hospitals, banks and insurance companies in the Philippines, thanks to an innovative remittance service provided by new Singapore business Pay2Home.
Pay2Home was established on the commitment to advance the personal financial empowerment of overseas foreign workers (OFWs) living in Singapore. Its direct bill payment service allows Filipino workers to pay a variety of essential family bills from Singapore, removing the need for intermediaries who often misuse the money.
"We've broken new ground in the remittance industry by establishing the largest and most relevant bill payment network in the Philippines," said Pay2Home Director, David Hulme, "with more than 500 organizations including schools, hospitals, telecom companies, insurance companies and utility companies have joined our direct payment network."
A recent report published by the Asian Development Bank estimates there are about 128,000 Filipinos working in Singapore with approximately US$140 million remitted to the Philippines from Singapore last year.
But while media reporting has largely focused on how remittances from OFWs kept cash strapped economies like the Philippines afloat, Mr Hulme said that the glaring problem of the loss of personal control over how these remittances are spent remain under reported.
"Ideally, OFWs want their remittances to go towards educating their children, paying off their home and savings. In reality, things don't always go to plan and beneficiaries misspending can result in family members dropping out of school or losing their drive to stay in employment," he said.
"The ability to dictate and control exactly how and when your salary earned abroad is used in the Philippines, is a major step towards the financial empowerment of these foreign workers."
General Manager of UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women Singapore), Fazlin Abdullah, agrees.
Ms.Abdullah explained that UNIFEM ran a number of courses such as family management, budgeting and saving, to empower domestic workers to get out of poverty. "Naturally, any tool that will help advance their personal financial empowerment is something that should be welcomed," she said.
With 7.6 million Filipino OFWs working around the world, Pay2Home services will extend beyond Singapore, to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Middle East. It will also launch a similar bill payment service for Indonesian and Thai workers in Singapore and the region.
The Pay2Home direct bill payment service is available from January at any remittance agent displaying the Pay2Home logo.
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