25 February 2009
REP. LUZ C. ILAGAN 0920-9213221
Abby Valenzuela (Public Information Officer) 0915-7639619
GABRIELA PARTY-LIST SEEKS MORATORIUM ON OFW FEES
"A moratorium on all the unnecessary and excessive fees collected by the Philippine government from overseas Filipino workers should immediately be put in place to help OFWs cope with the worldwide economic and financial crisis," Gabriela Women's Party Rep. Luz Ilagan said during the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs meeting on Wednesday.
"OFWs are among those who suffer the most under the global depression because aside from having to deal with the financial difficulty, they have to endure the excessive state exactions imposed upon them.
Ilagan added that “Their current situation is pitiful: instead of spending for food and other basic necessities, they opt to set aside a big chunk of their family budget for payments in the attempt to get jobs in other countries.”
According to Ilagan, government departments and agencies collect around P15,550 from Filipinos who wish to work abroad. Among the fees are POEA processing fee (US$100), OWWA Mandatory membership fee (US$25), TESDA Assessment Certificate (P1,000), passport (P750) and authentication fees for various documents (P7,600).
This does not include the placement, medical exam and other fees amounting to an average of more than P100,000 paid to the recruitment agencies before and after they leave the country.
Ilagan suggests that government remove certain fees such as the document authentication and TESDA assessment fees and to cut down on requirements that will only add up to the list of what OFWs need to pay for.
“The OFW remittances which remain the primary source of the country's foreign exchange is what saves our economy from inevitable collapse triggered by the global crisis. We can at least give back to our migrant workers by removing all the excessive government fees which only cause additional burden to them,” said Ilagan.