The government may issue retail Treasury bonds (RTBs) to Filipino workers after it sells at least $500 million worth of Samurai or yen-denominated bonds this month, National Treasurer Roberto Tan said.
“We are seriously considering that,” Tan said, adding that the retail bonds may be dollar or euro-denominated and may be sold in three- and five-year tenors.
The so-called OFW or overseas Filipino workers bonds would also serve as investment facilities for Filipinos abroad and not just a source of funding for the government.
However, Tan said nothing is final yet as the government has yet to look into administrative issues as the RTBs would be a domestic issue but aimed at Filipinos abroad.
For the Samurai bonds, Tan said the actual issuance may take place later this month or soon after the signing of the guarantee agreement between the Philippines and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) slated on Feb. 17 or 18.
“The launch will be after the signing. Hopefully, we can get things done by February,” said Tan, who led a Philippine team in Japan last week for an investors roadshow for the Samurai bonds.
Tan said Japanese investors indicated strong interest in the bonds which would amount to at least $500 million and can go up to $1 billion if there is strong interest from investors.
“I think there’s positive interest,” Tan said.
Last month, the Philippines raised $1.5 billion from the sale of dollar-denominated bonds, making it the first Asian sovereign debt issuer this year.
The yen-denominated, which was originally slated for last year, was moved to this year after the government and JBIC failed reach a final deal on guarantee costs.
In June last year, the Philippines and JBIC signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the planned Samurai bonds issue.
Under the MOU, JBIC would guarantee 95 percent of the present value of all principal and interest payments.
The last time the Philippines tapped the Japanese Capital Market was in 2001 with the issuance of Shibosai bonds, also a form of Samurai bonds, amounting to Japanese ¥50 billion.
By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star)