By Filane Mikee Cervantes

(PNA file photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – The bill protecting the remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) hurdled committee level at the House of Representatives.

During the hearing on Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the substitute bill to House Bills 185, 1190, 2944, 3020, 4170, 4257, 4343, 4397 & 4469, or the proposed OFWs Remittance Protection Act.

The bill provides for a 50 percent discount on OFW remittance fees imposed by banks and non-bank financial intermediaries.

In return, banks and other financial intermediaries will receive tax deductions equivalent to the discounts provided to OFWs.

Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo said the original proposal included a provision limiting the total annual tax deduction for these financial intermediaries to PHP24,000 per OFW.

Salo noted that the House panel approved a motion to remove the proposed cap to further encourage OFWs to send their remittances.

“It is imperative that we lessen the cost incurred by OFWs in their remittances, which account to a staggering USD36.1 billion or 8.9 percent of the country’s gross domestic product,” Salo said.

The proposed law would also prevent these financial institutions from increasing remittance fees without prior consultation with the Department of Finance, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

Salo said this provision shields OFWs from unexpected fee increases. (PNA)