A measure that seeks to limit charges and provide discounts on remittance fees gained support from the members of the House committee on ways and means.
Approved was House Bill 826, authored by Deputy Speaker and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales, the main objective of which is to lower the fees shouldered by the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
The OFW Remittance Protection Act states that financial intermediaries and non-bank financial intermediaries may impose fees for services rendered in sending remittances of OFWs to their immediate family members, subject to 50 percent discount regardless of the amount.
Initially, the bill proposed that the discount given to OFWs be dependent on the amount of their remittance but members agreed on an amendment setting the discount at 50 percent regardless of the amount of remittance.
Also, the bill states that financial and non-bank intermediaries providing discounts on remittance fees may claim the discounts granted as a tax deduction based on the cost of services rendered to OFWs.
The total deduction from the gross income of establishments providing discounts on remittance fees shall, however, not exceed P24,000 per OFW every taxable year.
Meanwhile, the proposed law states that all financial intermediaries and non-bank financial intermediaries offering remittance services to OFWs are also prohibited from raising their current remittance fees without prior consultation with the Department of Finance, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
Gonzales pointed out that during the transfer of remittances, several fees and remittance charges are implemented resulting in the depletion of the funds to be received by OFWs families.
“In view of the effect of high remittance charges on the hard-earned wages of OFWs, which should instead be enjoyed by them and their respective families, it becomes a matter of utmost urgency and necessity for Congress to enact a law that will adequately and effectively put a stop to the imposition of high remittance charges and safeguard the remittances sent by OFWs, which includes providing educational programs on how these OFWs can manage their finances,” Gonzales said.