Scrapping of Documentary Stamp Tax, OFWs ‘Hard Fought’ Victory –MME

Press Release
April 20, 2010

The scrapping of the documentary stamp tax by virtue of the passage of Republic Act 10022, an act amending RA 8042 or the Migrant workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 is migrant workers’ victory that would surely provide an ease to majority’s low-income OFWs especially construction workers and domestic helpers, thus today said by an alliance of Overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East.

“If not of the intensified campaign and various mass actions launched by Migrante and its chapters in the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Europe and America along with various Filipino organizations and individual OFWs around the world, some members of the Congress would not file a bill for the scrapping of the documentary stamp tax, thus we congratulates ourselves and all fellow OFWs who side-by-side campaign for its scrapping last year,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional director.

Monterona noted that it is also the Congress which passed the BIR tax reform law that mandated the imposition of documentary stamp tax to all remittances coming from abroad including OFWs.

“But because of the sustained campaign, mass actions, and lobbying of Migrante and other OFWs organizations, some members of the Congress have been enlightened on the issue of imposing additional burden to OFWs, thus many of them have supported our call to scrap the documentary stamp tax and some even filed their own respective version of bill and resolution that were consolidated into bill which was now approved as RA 10022,” Monterona added.

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Monterona said Migrante chapters and OFWs around the world are not thankful to Senatorial candidates or re-electionist Congressmen who have endorsed RA 10022.

Monterona clarifies that although the scrapping of documentary stamp tax has been incorporated in RA 10022, it said generally the new law is an anti-OFW as it has many provisions that run counter to the interest, rights, and welfare of OFWs and their dependents.

“RA 10022 does not changed RA 8042, it is still within the framework of exporting cheap Filipino labor abroad without providing guarantee that OFWs well being, rights and welfare will be protected,” Monterona averred.

Monterona added the new law (RA 10022) that became a law even with out the signature of the President does not go away from its original (RA 8042) of being an anti-OFW by allowing the government not only to further institutionalized the government’s labor export program but it is also seen to intensify the exportation of human labor without guarantee that Filipino migrant worker’s well-being, rights and welfare are safeguarded and protected by the receiving host-governments.

Monterona further said the new law (RA 10022) is an anti-OFW as it allows the government to impose additional state exactions and fees freely that will bleed OFWs dry of their earnings.

“The new amended law will also absolve employers and recruiters from their accountability to OFWs’ well-being, rights and welfare which the government passed to them by virtue of RA 8042,” Monterona averred.
Monterona noted with RA 10022, the government totally abandons its primary duty and responsibility in taking care the well-being, rights and welfare of deployed OFWs into the hands of profiteering recruitment agencies, local and overseas.

“In short, RA 10022 is basically a law not for migrant workers because it is based on the framework of neo-liberal policies of globalization (liberalization, privatization, and deregulation) whereby the interest of businesses and profit is given priority over the welfare and rights of the working people; thus it is very anti-OFWs,” Monterona added.
Monterona noted that even the President did not bother to sign the bill but instead allow it to lapse into a law, now RA 10022, as provided by the 987 Constitution.

“For us, Mrs. Arroyo plays safe not to sign the bill so that she could not be blamed later although many of the pro-Arroyo lawmakers have supported the passage of RA 10022,” Monterona ended.

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator

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