Being our Modern Heroes, the government has provided various benefits for the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). OFWs are exempted from the Terminal Fee. They also have various perks such as reduced travel taxes and privileges treatment in the DFA among others.
In his 2017 SONA, the Duterte government promised to shower our OFW champions with financial benefits throughout his term.
In this regard, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez moved to file House Bill 6138. It aims to amend Republic Act 8042: Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995.
With its current iteration, Republic Act 8042 indirectly exempts only children of married couples by virtue of Republic Act 6768: An Act Instituting a Balikbayan Program. The Congress announced its approval from the house. It amended Section 3 of RA 8042 to include the definition of a solo parent. Also, it amended Section 35 to:
“Sec. 35. Exemption from Travel Tax, Documentary Stamp Tax as Airport Fee. – All laws to the contrary notwithstanding, the migrant worker AND HIS OR HER DEPENDENTS shall be exempt from the payment of travel tax and airport fee upon showing of entitlement by the POEA.”
The amendment ultimately exempted the children of ALL OFWs regardless of marital status.
The loss in revenue from this exemption is miniscule compared to the sizeable remittances of OFWs. Current OFW remittances are more or less pegged at $2 Billion Dollars a month. That’s $2,000,000,000! Yes, it has nine zeroes!
The contributions of OFW whether single or married are relevant catalysts that drive the growing Filipino economy. With this consideration, correcting this tax inequity is deemed necessary and just.
In the next 6 months after the effectivity of this Bill, the Finance Secretary will release the rules and regulations for the implementation of its purpose. For now, the Bill will be referred to the committee on ways and means for approval of tax provisions.