April 23, 2008
Connie Bragas-Regalado, Chairperson
Migrante slams documentary stamp tax on OFW remittances
An alliance of organizations composed of OFWs and their families today slammed the planned collection of a documentary stamp tax on remittances through remittance companies as yet another Arroyo scheme to bleed OFWs dry.
According to a Western Union source in Dubai , cited by Migrante Middle East, the Arroyo government will soon collect a 0.15% documentary stamp tax (DST) on OFW remittances sent through remittance companies. Already, the Arroyo government collects a 0.15% DST from OFW families on remittances sent through local banks.
“It’s as if the knife the Arroyo government stabbed into our back just got deeper. Given that OFW families already reel from the lower dollar exchange rate as they try to grapple with rising food prices – it’s utterly unjust and immoral for them toadd this new ‘state exaction’. In fact, the intensifying economic crisis gripping the Filipino people merits the immediate scrapping of all service charges and fees against OFW remittances. And the first to go should be this documentary stamp tax,” says Connie Bragas-Regalado, Migrante International Chaiperson.
For every US$200 (or P8,320 at a P41.60 exchange) remittance, the OFW family will be charged P12.48 in DST. Considering OFW remittances average US$1 billion monthly, that means US$1.5 million (or P62 million) monthly in DST revenue.
“That means P62 million goes to the corrupt Arroyo government instead of to OFW families. Every peso an OFW family saves is another peso they can spend for food. Besides, given the Arroyo administration’s reprehensible track record for high-level corruption, we oppose all schemes designed to pour more funds into her coffers. For all we know, this collection is gearedtowards fattening the administration’s campaign kitty for 2010,” she added.
The OFW leader noted that the DST is in addition to the other service charges deducted by the remittance company. For example an IMF study states average remittance charges for the Philippines range from US$15 to US$26 for a US$200 remittance.
“The expansion and collection of these burdensome ‘state exactions’ or government fees is all the more offensive because of thisadministration’s track record of exporting, exploiting and criminally neglecting countless OFWs and their families. We demand the immediate scrapping of the DST on all OFW remittance transactions, through bank and non-bank channels, as a form of immediateeconomic relief,” concluded Bragas-Regalado. #