LAMBINO URGES GOVT TO EXEMPT OFWs’ REMITTANCES FROM

LAMBINO URGES GOVT TO EXEMPT OFWs’ REMITTANCES FROM
DOCUMENTARY STAMP TAX

Lakas-Kampi-CMD senatorial bet Atty. Raul Lambino has called
on the government to immediately exempt overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from
paying documentary stamp tax on their remittances to enable them to use the
extra money for their needs as well as pump prime the economy.

The scrapping of the tax imposition on OFWs’ remittances is
one of the major agenda to promote the welfare of OFWs unveiled by Lambino as
he took the cudgels for Filipinos working abroad.

“The Philippine economy has survived the global financial
crisis and a positive growth was registered because of OFW remittances. It is
not wise fiscal policy to require documentary stamp tax payment for such
remittances,” Lambino said.

He said based on the $17 billion annual remittances of OFWs, the
government collects some $1.3 billion. An estimated 10
million Filipinos, migrants and contract workers, are working abroad.

“It would be better
if this amount ($1.3 billion) goes directly to the families of OFWs instead of
going to the coffers of the government,” Lambino stressed.

He said with more money from OFWs and their families flowing
into the financial system once the tax imposition is scrapped, the economy
would surely get a boost. “Pag may malaking gastusin ang tao, sisigla ang
ekonomiya.”

The remittances of
Filipinos abroad are charged with a documentary stamp tax of P0.30 for every
P200 sent to the country, as required in the Tax Reform Act of 1997.

Lambino said the health coverage of OFWs should also be
expanded to include their family members.

“OFWs and their family members should have universal health
coverage through Philhealth (Philippine Health Insurance) for them not to worry
about their medical expenses. Their health requirements should be taken care of
when they come back to the country,” he pointed out.

Lambino likewise called on the government to take more
concrete action to stop the seeming connivance of recruiter, agency and
employer to deceive and shortchange OFWs of their rightful salaries and
benefits.

“It is already common knowledge that many OFWs do not receive
rightful salaries, benefits and conditions of work in accordance with the
contract entered by them before deployment. OFWs, whether documented or
undocumented, must get ample protection from government while abroad,” he
stressed.

He said the government must go after these local recruitment
agencies responsible for victimizing OFWs.

To address the housing needs of OFWs, Lambino said there is
still a need to review the Pag-IBIG Fund law to see how to lighten the
contribution of workers.

“Mabuti may mandatory coverage ang OFWs sa Pag-IBIG Fund pero
kailangan suriin para makita kung paano mapapagaan yung pagbayad nila ng
contribusyon sa Pag-IBIG,” he said.

Lambino said the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of
Labor and Employment, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and Philippine
Overseas Employment Administration must look for more ways to enhance the
welfare of OFWs.

Lambino has vowed to be the champion of OFWs once elected to
the Senate. -30-

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