18 July 2008
Migrante ME to Arroyo: Scrap remittance fees, decide now!
“This administration is in a mode of “killing us softly”, thus declared today by an alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ organizations in the Middle East .
“We can’t wait any longer for the Arroyo administration to fix its decision; it is imperative for Mrs. Arroyo to decide to scrap remittance charges,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante Middle East regional coordinator.
Early this month, Migrante International, the largest alliance of OFW organizations worldwide started its campaign urging the Arroyo administration to scrap the charges on remittances for OFWs.
In its reply to OFWs demand, Department of Finance Secretary Margarito Teves during an interview in a local radio station in Manila last week said the government is considering to lower the remittance fees for OFWs in a bid to help their families cope with the effects of inflation rate.
“We are reminding the Arroyo administration that OFW-families are also hit hard by the weekly oil price increases that push up the prices of basic commodities,” Monterona added.
Monterona said OFWs average monthly wage of US$250 is not enough as the daily cost of living now for a family with six members is now P871.
“With a surge of OFW remittances reaching now to a total of $6.8 billion from January to May 2008, it is but sensible for the Arroyo administration to moderate its greed by deciding to scrap the remittance fees collected from OFWs as a concrete manifestation of its bid to help OFW families cope up the effects of rising prices of oil and other basic commodities” Monterona said.
Monterona said that instead of giving dole outs or any similar economic relief package for OFWs, it is more fruitful and meaningful for the Arroyo administration to scrap the remittances fees collected from OFWs.
“OFW dependents would be very happy, thankful for their husband or wife with complementary flying kisses and sweet text messages, to receive remittances complete or 100% without any charges for the very first time. This makes our fellow OFWs’ hearth grow,” Monterona added.
The OFW leader further said that if the Arroyo administration has a kind heart and concern for OFWs, it will surely decide to scrap remittances fees without any hesitation; “but it seems it is the otherwise,” he continued.
“Though we are not expecting that Mrs. Arroyo will decide on OFWs’ favor by scrapping the remittances fees rather than protecting the interests of money transfer companies, banks and, telecommunications companies and her own administration who is the main beneficiary of OFWs remittances, we will welcome if she will pronounce during her July 28 State of the Nations Address, the lowering of remittances fees and immediately direct the concerned government agencies for execution,” Monterona averred.
“Only then, OFWs and their families would say to her “Thanks, but no thanks” as after all, OFW remittance must be free of charge considering the valuable contribution of OFW remittances in keeping the economy afloat,” Monterona ended.
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012