Roxas: Documentary stamp tax paid by OFWs should fund services, needs

Monday, September 22, 2008 | posted in , , , , | 0 comments

Sen. Mar Roxas rallied overseas Filipino workers and their families to help pressure the government into setting aside a special fund for lawyers and other assistance using funds collected from a tax imposed on OFW remittances.

Roxas, chairman of the Senate committee on trade and commerce, said the government could set aside its collections from its 0.15% documentary stamp tax (DST) estimated at a billion pesos every year to provide legal and other services to protect our OFWs, especially for hiring lawyers for OFWs imprisoned or facing court cases abroad.
Para sa akin, dapat ilagay ang nakolektang DST sa special fund para sa Overseas Workers Welfare Administration , para lamang sa pangangailangan ninyong mga OFW,” he said. “Ang sagot dito dapat ay isang sistema na sisiguruhin na kahit saan mag-landing ang mga OFWs natin, may matatawagan sila na maasahan pag magka-problema sila.”

Pero mas maganda para sa mga OFWs na tanggalin na ang DST na ito,” said Roxas, author of Senate Bill No. 2479 that seeks the removal of the documentary stamp tax on OFW remittances.

Kung mapupunta lang ang pera sa kung saan-saan sa gobyerno, mas mabuti pang maiwan na lang ito sa kamay at bulsa ng mga pamilya na siyang tatanggap nitong pera,” he said in a speech before Migrante International, a group representing OFWs and their families.
Roxas said the government should also consider using the money from the DST on OFW remittances to help OFW families cope with skyrocketing prices of food and transport.
Tutal ay pera naman ninyo ito, kayo rin dapat ang makikinabang dito. Hindi dapat ito mapunta sa mga ma-anomalyang transaksyon na pinapasukan ng gobyerno,” he added.
OFWs remitted a total of $14.7 billion in 2007 through the banking system. If remittances sent through unofficial channels are calculated, the estimated total remittances last year reached at least $16 billion, from which the government collected roughly $22 million or P1 billion in 0.15% documentary stamp tax (DST).

Roxas has actively sought additional protection and assistance to OFWs. In the 2008 budget, he pushed for a P50-million budget for the DoLE’s OFW Social Reintegration program, which Malacanang has yet to release to the Department of labor and Employment. The program provides “balikbayan” OFWs with sufficient knowledge of how to use their savings as well as investment opportunities and other forms of reintegration assistance.

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