Revilla wants full disclosure of fees on OFWs' money transfers

SENATOR Ramon “Bong Revilla Jr. is pushing for a bill mandating remittance agents and companies to fully disclose terms and costs of the money transfer service being offered to  overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

"These OFWs dedicate all their labor and sacrifices for the betterment of their families. Their salaries, wages or earnings that they send home are products of love and hard work," Revilla said in filing Senate Bill No. 438 or the “Remittance Act of 2019.”

"Recognizing the valuable contribution of our OFWs in our economy, this measure seeks to protect the hard-earned money of our OFWs. It requires the disclosure of charges and fees that would be paid for sending their money through remittance agents and companies. Likewise, it penalizes price gouging or the exorbitant charging of fees for the transactions being made,” Revilla added.

The measure requires remittance companies to disclose all finance charges and other fees on the money transfer service and to strictly adhere to the terms and conditions of their remittance.

The bill requires remittance agents and companies to be duly registered, licensed and must have met all the requirements of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

All remittance agents and companies shall follow the exact real time exchange rate at the beginning of the business day as posted in the Reference Exchange Rate Bulletin of the BSP.

The BSP, in accordance with its rules and regulations, shall impose a flat rate transaction for senders from the Philippines.

The remittance agents and companies shall be required to include a waiver form for each transaction clearly specifying the exchange rate provided for the currency, including the additional fees being deducted from the original remittance.

If the recipient consents to the exchange from the original currency to Philippine peso, a signed acknowledgment will have to be made.

The remittance agents and companies are also required to serve notice to the parties concerned that senders are generally not permitted to require that the money transfer be made in the original currency, except in specific countries where senders are given the option of receiving the money in original currency without any additional exchange fees being charged to the sender.