MANILA (Mabuhay) — Malacañang is not worried about the plan of an overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) group to launch a “no-remittance day” on Friday to protest the Bureau of Customs (BOC)’s aborted plan to physically inspect balixbayan boxes.
During a press briefing on Wednesday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. recalled that a similar initiative was launched two years, which he said did not have any negative impact on the economy.
“Ang dating naging karanasan diyan ay noon pang 2013, ‘nung kasagsagan ng isyu ng PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) o pork barrel, at noon naman ay walang naiulat na masamang epekto ito. Kaya kung ‘yon ang pagbabatayan ay tila wala naman tayong dapat ikabahala hinggil dito,” Coloma told reporters.
The Palace official added that while OFWs may delay their remittances for one day, they still have to transfer the money to help their families in the Philippines.
“Maaaring maantala siya ng isang araw pero hindi naman siguro ito nila iniisip na huwag ipadala,” Coloma said.
“Nananalig kami na sa paggamit nila ng katuwiran ay gagawin nila ‘yung pinakamainam para sa kapakanan ng kanilang mga mahal sa buhay,” he added.
Migrante International, an OFW group, earlier called on Filipino migrant workers to join the remittance holiday to flight supposed “anti-migrant, anti-people” policies of the Aquino administration.
The BOC earlier faced public criticism due to its plan to conduct manual inspections on OFW-sent packages in an attempt to curb smuggling.
On Monday, Aquino directed the BOC to drop its plan and instead open only the suspicious packages.
Coloma nevertheless said that OFWs are free to join the remittance holiday.
“Iginagalang namin ang karapatang magpahayag ng saloobin sa hanay ng mga OFWs. Patuloy naming kinikilala ang mahalagang ambag ng mga OFWs sa ating ekonomiya,” he said. (MNS)