It is like I am holding a suitcase on my left hand while I wave my round trip plane ticket on my right hand and announcing to everybody that I am about to board a plane bound for Japan and everyone who hears my announcement is offering something like a neck pillow, a set of Japanese chop sticks, a week-long hotel accommodations in Tokyo, a free dinner of pink salmon. That is how I see the third phase of my housing loan application.
I just finished submitting all required documents. I got the Membership Status Verification Slip in a matter of thirty minutes free of charge. I am glad to have requested for the consolidation of all my records last July, 2016. I also had to change my membership status from employed to self-employed online. At last, I have a PAG-IBIG identification number now. I had a total of 93 contributions and my last contribution is for the current month. I feel excited over the fact that I have unclaimed dividends that added some substance to my cumulative balance. Dividends seem to appear at my HDMF premium payment sheet every last day of the year. I also noticed that my shares as a self-employed individual began to appear under the employee column while zeros were placed under the employer column.
What serves as my Certificate of Employment as far as PAG-IBIG housing loan application is concerned is my Certificate of Registration as a Self-Employed Individual (the one issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue) accompanied by my Certificate of Earnings Report (derived from my Reports page here at Upwork). The latter was easy to produce. For reasons unknown to me, my COR suddenly disappeared from my files prompting me to request for a replacement which required me to produce a notarized affidavit of loss, fully accomplished Payment Form (BIR Form 0605) with a bank receipt amounting to Php 1,000.00 (as a penalty for losing my COR) and BIR Form 1905 (so I could update my registration information). I got my second copy of the COR on the same day that I submitted all required documents.
In order to save time, I tried to request for a certified true copy of my latest annual income tax return (ITR) while I was waiting for my COR copy to be released. I learned that I had to make a letter of request addressed to the administrative assistant of the Collection Division of the BIR together with the original copy and photocopy of the said document and pay a certification fee of Php 100.00 plus documentary stamps worth Php 15.00. I was surprised that the said document was personally handed to me during the unholy hour of lunch break by no less than the Chief Executive Officer of the revenue district herself! The entire process was fast and I could glean from how these powerful women acted on my request that they also wanted me to have my 4% discount which, by the way, can be availed by any buyer of a house and lot unit 30 days after the reservation date.
My next stop was the bank statement reflecting all my Upwork earnings. I, finally, had the chance to visit the branch where my former employer opened a payroll account for me. Words cannot fully capture how I felt when I stepped inside the Philippine Stocks Exchange Centre. I finally got to see those figures they call "stocks" blinking on a LED board like how certain destinations or routes get to be advertised at specific locations of the airport. Certainly, my former employer and his comrades (for they are ONE TRIBE) have a flair for business (and everything related to stocks and bonds). Focusing on the meat of my visit to the centre, I felt elated when the bank teller left me to decide for myself the number of months that I need to see on my bank statement. Other banks could offer me only at least three months of bank transactions but with Union Bank, it is different. So I asked if I could be given a bank statement dating to as far back as September, 2015 since that was when I first started earning (although I registered as early as July, 2015). His response was positive and I had the document in less than thirty minutes and free of charge.
As for the post-dated checks, I had to make sure that I have a landline number and a sound (?) savings reputation at the bank where I made my checking account. When asked about my account preference, I opted for the one with the lowest maintaining balance (Php 5,000.00) at zero interest. I might use these checks for the payment of my monthly amortization once the housing project proposal get to be approved. The most difficult part, I guess, was having to transfer cash to the said account since I had to consider the maximum amount to be withdrawn per day and with specific ATM machines, there seems to be quite a pattern of deviations when it comes to this. When funds for the full equity have been made available, I drafted the check and submitted this to the office of the developer processing my housing loan application.
The last document to be accomplished was the Financial Statement of Business. The preparation of this document was not easy. I had to submit hard copies of all six booklets of invoices that I issued to my clients, the Cash Disbursement Journal, The Cash Receipt Journal, a transaction report reflecting gross and net earnings since I started as a self-employed individual up to the current month, all ITRs and monthly percentage tax returns, invoices reflecting service fee deductions issued by Upwork and all other invoices (or receipts) for taxes, bills, utilities and premiums (SSS, PhilHealth and PAG-IBIG) that I paid for. Two accountants have been hired to do the job - one prepared my income statement, balance sheet and the other one was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who audited and signed my Financial Statement of Business. The preparation of the Income Statement and Balance Sheet costs Php 2,500.00 while the auditing of the financial statement costs Php 3,000.00. Unfortunately, I did not have any chances of meeting these intellectuals personally. The agency has an administrative officer who receives work from clients distributes the tasks to all accountants. After having a phone interview with the accountant who prepared my Financial Statement of Business, I waited for the CPA to audit the document. The CPA believed that all proofs of evidence that I presented were sufficient enough and appropriate for him to be able to provide a basis for his audit opinion based on the Philippine Standards on Auditing. Finally, I got to reconcile the fact that foreign exchange rate risks do indeed fall under the category called "LOSSES" but in the Income Statement it is labelled as "DEPRECIATION". Overall, I seem to have passed the auditing process and I am glad that a CPA finally got to have a look at my records. Do I need to mention that his name is Jesus?
I am most grateful to the only family I have and to the entire Upwork community, most especially to my clients who provide me with intellectually-stimulating projects while exercising extreme leniency when it comes to deadlines, for staying by me at these times. I would rather say that the third phase of my housing loan application made me see that even without the external manifestations of a human shelter yet, I have a home and for this fact, I am most grateful.
The waiting period officially begins today.
Can there really be housing benefits for Filipino freelancers?