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OFWs urged to invest in new retail T-bills to fund govt projects

12 March 2019

Seminar participaants pose with Deputy Treasurer Erwin Sta Ana  (in green shirt), who said the national budget taken from taxes is not sufficient to fund the national projects so the government needs to borrow from the public by issuing the RTBs.

By George Manalansan

Philippine government officials are seeking to tap the help of overseas Filipinos in funding the Duterte administration’s “Build, build, build” program by opening the online trading of retail treasury bills, which are bonds that target migrant workers.

According to the officials led by Deputy Treasurer Erwin Sta Ana, the national budget taken from taxes is not sufficient to fund the national projects so it needs to borrow from the public by issuing the RTBs.

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Sta Ana was the featured speaker in what the Consulate billed as a financial literacy seminar held on Feb 24 in its conference room.

Consul General Antonio Morales welcomed the treasury team, and said that as part of his advocacy for improving the future of overseas Filipinos’ health and wealth, he was recommending that they invest in government securities.


Sta. Maria discussed the government projects that need funding, including infrastructure, mass transportation in the cities, railways, flood control, seaports, health, social services, education an many others.

He said the national government through the Department of Finance, has issued commercial papers and government securities to help fund projects for the current administration.

These investment instrument are offered and can be accessed online through, and directly through banks. The offering is available only from Feb 26 to Mar 8, 2019.


Also part of the team was Francis Chua of DBP who explained the requirements and the process involved in investing in the RTBs with a tenor 91 days, 182 days or 364 days, with annual interest rates starting at 4.75%.

He said the interest earnings are credited to the investor’s settlement account quarterly, but there is a 25% withholding tax to be deducted from the amount each time.

Benjamin Bongolan of Land Bank said the RTBs are a safe investment, calling them “matibay”. He also said they are affordable, secure as it is sovereign-backed, high yielding, convenient, with interest interest payment, easy to sell, and is low risk, compared to high-risk private corporation investments.

In addition, he said the minimum investment for the RTBs is just Php5,000, compared to Php50,000 in corporate private bonds. He added that OFWs can invest directly with the treasury to enjoy primary market rates while if the purchase is through banks, they might end up buying at secondary market prices.

Despite the seriousness of the topic, the lectures were often interspersed with jokes so that laughter often filled the room.

During the question and answer session that followed, the audience asked for more information about the process of investing in the RTBs online, as well as the requirements.

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