MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang may look into the possibility of scrapping remittance fees being paid by overseas Filipino workers (OFW) amid the fuel and food crises faced by the country.
Lorelei Fajardo, deputy presidential spokesperson, said government economic managers could mull over Migrante International’s proposal to either give up the fees or lower the rate of OFW remittance being received by the government.
“That could be studied. But for the meantime, the government is doing its best to mitigate the impact of the challenges that our country is facing now in all sectors of the society especially the poorest of the poor,” she said.
She acknowledged that OFW contributions helped the government in cushioning the impact of the global surge in the prices of basic commodities.
Migrante International-Middle East Chapter earlier called for the scrapping of the remittance fees to enable the families of OFWs to cope with the economic crisis.
OFWs are charged a 15-percent documentary stamp tax, which is deducted by the government from all remittances coursed through legal channels.
OFW remittance in the first five months of 2008 reached $6.8 billion, up 14.7 percent from last year, according to the Philippine central bank.
There were 533,945 OFWs deployed during the said period, or 40 percent more than those deployed in the first five months of 2007, based on government records.
The central bank expects that remittances coursed through banks will reach $15.7 billion by the end of 2008 or 9 percent higher than in 1997.
Most of the eight million Filipinos abroad work as domestic helpers, entertainers, nurses, caregivers, engineers, and ship crew members.
A large portion of OFW remittance come from Saudi Arabia, US, United Kingdom, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. – GMANews.TV