Online Petition Seeks to Scrap Remittance Charges

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have taken their struggle against remittance charges to the worldwide web. Their online petition also includes the demand to remove the value-added tax (VAT) on oil and power.

BY ANGIE DE LARA
MIGRANT WATCH
Bulatlat
Volume VIII, Number 26, August 3-9, 2008

Migrante International launched their online petition to scrap remittance charges last July 28. http://www.petitiononline.com/Ibasura/petition.html

The government charges a 0.15-percent documentary stamp tax for every transaction. Migrante said that for every billion-dollar remittance, the government earns $1.5 million or P62 million.

The group said that banks and private businesses also rake in gargantuan profits from remittances. For every $200 remittance sent monthly, $15 to $22 is charged as service fee. For 10 million OFWs sending remittances, banks earn a staggering $1 billion every month.

The petition reads, “This predatory practice of charging remittances is practically feeding off our blood, sweat and tears. Enough is enough!”

Migrante said that most OFWs have to tighten their belts to be able to send the same $200 they regularly send to their families at home. “The $200 monthly remittances have radically shrunk and continue to shrink with the spiraling prices of almost all basic goods and services. And the Arroyo government refuses to scrap remittance charges and fees,” Migrante complained.

The group is also calling for the removal of the value-added tax on oil and power.

Reactions

As of press time, 379 OFWs and relatives have signed the petition.

The petition elicited reactions from OFWs and supporters.

Jonna Baldres, a Filipino in the US, wrote, “We don’t even see and feel where the remittance charges go. They’re only being kept in somebody else’s pockets! Stop exploiting and exporting Filipino workers overseas!”

Berna Ellorin, secretary general of the USA chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance), commented, “We pay the Philippine government’s paycheck, yet we have no protection in return.”
Florchita Bautista said, “When will the government stop sucking the blood of migrant workers? You claim that they are the modern-day heroes because of the money they remit that keep the economy of the country going…Yet you still have the audacity to tax them for the money that keeps the government alive. Enough is enough! Scrap the remittance charges now!”

Others were so enraged. Linda Derije wrote, “Kawawa pamilya namin sa abrud kinokotongan pa ni Gloria! Sobra! Paalisin sa Malakanyang ngayon na po.” (Pity our family members who work abroad and yet they are being taxed by Gloria! Enough is enough! Let us remove her from Malacañang)

The United Filipinos in Hongkong (UNIFIL-HK) wrote, “Kinikikilan, Ginagatasan, Pinababayaan! Migrante at Pamilya, Patalsikin si Gloria!” (Their hard-earned money is being forcibly taken from them. They are being made as milking cows. To all migrant workers and their families, let us oust Gloria!) (Bulatlat.com)

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