A BILL seeking to limit charges and provide discounts on remittances made by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) hurdled the House of Representatives committee on ways and means on Tuesday, September 1, 2020.

Authored by Pampanga 3rd District Representative Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales, Jr., House Bill 826, or the “Overseas Filipino Workers Remittance Protection Act”, aims to minimize remittance charges and safeguard the remittances sent by workers abroad.

"Those OFW remittances are transferred from the OFWs to the intermediaries, such as financial and non-bank financial institutions before it reaches beneficiaries," Gonzales said.

"In the course of the transfer of the funds, the amount remitted is subjected to several fees and high remittance charges which result in the depletion of the amount to be remitted and received by beneficiaries,” he added.

Under the said measure, financial intermediaries and non-bank financial intermediaries are allowed to charge fees for services rendered in the money remittance of OFWs to the immediate family members, subject to a 50-percent discount regardless of the amount.

All establishments providing discounts on remittance fees may claim the discounts granted as a tax deduction based on the cost of services rendered to OFWs.

In his bill, Gonzales proposed that the total deduction from the gross income of establishments providing discounts on remittance fees should not exceed P24,000 per OFW every taxable year.

According to Gonzales, this measure would also safeguard OFWs from financial intermediaries and non-bank financial intermediaries raising their current remittance fees without prior consultation with the Department of Finance, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

Gonzales said most OFWs are concerned with the remittances they send back to their families in the Philippines.

“The principal consideration of our OFWs in working abroad is to provide for their families. These OFWs endure living away from their families and work in a foreign lang to provide a better life for their loved ones by sending a portion of their earnings, in a form pf remittances,” Gonzales said. (SunStar Philippines)