An Overseas Filipino Worker (Pilipino sa Ibayong-dagat) is a person of Filipino origin who lives outside of the Philippines for employment, work contract and students.
House of Representatives has passed the much-awaited OFW Remittance Protection Bill. This bill seeks to safeguard the interest of the millions of OFW worldwide, protect their hard-earned money, and educate the beneficiaries.
One can avail up to 50% discount depending on the amount being remitted. The discount slab is regressive to the remittance amount.
The bill proposes a mandatory tax deduction for the remittance service providers as an incentive to offset the cost of discounts. Further, the establishments and intermediaries granting discounts on remittance fees may claim tax deductions based on the cost of services rendered to OFWs.
The bill aims to set a ceiling limit on the remittance fees and prohibits charging a higher fee than the prescribed ceiling limit. Financial intermediaries/ banks/transfer operators offering remittance services to OFWs are not allowed to raise fees without prior consultation and approval by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Department of Finance (DOF), and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
For the individuals, the bill provides measures of penalties such as imprisonment and fines to any individuals found violating provisions of the Act.
For the institutions governed and supervised by the BSP, the bill has measures which subject violators to fines, penalties, and sanctions as provided under the New Central Bank Act, General Banking Law of 2000, and other banking regulations as applicable.
The bill imposes the DOF, the BSP, and POEA to provide a mandatory financial education program for OFWs and their families. The provision of education includes providing information on financial management, training on budgeting, and explaining various investment and loan options to improve the financial literacy of the OFWs and their beneficiaries.
The Philippines with record-breaking inward remittances has significantly contributed towards keeping the economy of the archipelago afloat. In recognition of this contribution, the OFW Remittance Protection Bill is set to save billions of dollars, which translates to more money in the hands of the beneficiaries.
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