OFW relief bill now on second reading

THE bill that seeks to provide relief to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who send remittances to the country is now on second reading.

Third District Representative Aurelio Gonzales, Jr., who authored the bill dubbed "Overseas Filipino Workers Remittance Protection Act," said the proposed measure was already submitted to the Senate for second reading on November 17.

Under the said bill, OFWs who send remittances to immediate family members will be given a 50 percent discount on the transaction charge, regardless of the amount, said Gonzales.

"They can immediately claim discounts when they send the money. No need for forms or any documents because it will be automatic," he said.

Gonzales said remittances to the Philippines in 2018 amounted to some P32 billion and it increased by another P1 billion in 2019. The said amount is equivalent to billions of pesos worth of remittance fees paid outright by OFWs.

"The goal is to provide additional net income to OFWs by cutting the remittance fees being charged to them," he added.

Gonzales also assured that bank institutions and remittance centers, which will provide deductions, will not incur losses as they may claim discounts on their annual income tax returns.

He also said the National Government is expected to lose an estimated P3 billion per year once the law is implemented.

"This is a minimal amount compared to the savings that we can provide to our unsung heroes, our OFWs, who are working on foreign lands to provide for their families," he added.

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