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Companies offer housing for seafarers

September 8, 2011, 3:11am [ Manila Bulletin Online ]

MANILA, Philippines — Among Overseas Filipino Workers, seafarers are one of the highest paid. Yet, most seafarers would experience difficulty in getting home loans because of gaps in their employment history. Seafarers are generally contractual workers who are at sea from six to eight months in a year.

A recent agreement among ACM Homes, Landbank of the Philippines and Philippine Transmarine Carriers (PTC) presents a solution through Landbank’s Easy Home Loan Program for seafarers. The package allows them to borrow up to 90 percent and to pay back through monthly salary deductions.

Philbright Ang of crew management company PTC explained the loan program. Incidents of seafarers who are unable to accumulate savings even after 20 or 30 years at sea are common. Faced with the pressure to support large extended families, many seafarers let out steam through impulse buying and unplanned purchases.

In addition, the contractual nature of their work makes it difficult for them to meet amortizations on those months when they are out of contract. ACM, PTC and Landbank have anticipated those periods and arranged for deductions to cover the monthly dues.

Aside from owning a house, it is also equally important for seafarers and their families to live in master-planned communities close to schools, commercial centers and other establishments. Attuned to the needs of mariners who are not with their families for most months of the year, ACM Homes also provides livelihood and other programs for the families.

ACM’s strategic marketing alliance with Philippine Transmarine Carriers which deploys 35,000 officers and crew annually, has been a key driver to its 30 percent growth in the past five years. ACM Homes expects to breach the P1 billion mark in revenues this year.

The Easy Home Loan Program is 0.5 percent lower than the regular housing loan interest rates and offers an amortization period of 20 years, or five years more than the usual 15 years.

ACM has developed 15 projects offering house and lots from P550,000 to P3.5 million covering approximately 100 hectares in the two provinces where it has become a leading real estate player in its segment.

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