Friday, September 11, 2009

No to tax on text messages!

No to tax on text messages!
OFWs urge to join text barrage campaign to oppose anti-OFW tax on text bill

Press Release
11 September 2009

Migrante-Middle East, an alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ organizations in the Middle East, today said it also opposes House Bill 6625, a proposed legislation originated in the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee imposing tax on text messages.

“This government is killing OFWs and their families so softly! This is just another burden to OFWs and their families who are already bleeding dry due to numerous government fees and imposition of charges by recruitment agencies,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said the proponents of HB 6625 do not really understand the dilemma of the 10-M OFWs and overseas Filipinos who are away from their families who frequently use international roaming SIM cards to constantly communicate with their loved ones back home.

“Using my roaming SIM card, I usually consume my P100 load for about 5 text messages for my wife and kids; now if tax will be imposed, probably I could only send 2 or 3 text messages for P100 load to my wife limiting me to only say to her “I luv U” or “gud nite”,” Monterona added.

“The Congress should consider that the semi-skilled and non-skilled OFWs like construction workers, service workers, household service workers and domestic helpers, usually paid at about US$300 to US$450 per month, who will be the most to be affected by this tax on text measure,” Monterona claimed.

Monterona said every time the government thinks for additional sources of funds, OFWs are never spared from additional taxes which only suggest an additional burden, and yet the government is only wasting public funds aside from that went to the big pockets of corrupt public officials, elected or appointed under the Arroyo government.

Monterona cited for instance the imposition of documentary stamp tax of .05% for every US$ 100 OFW remittance under the newly implemented BIR Code.

“Despite the huge contribution of OFWs remittances that reached to US$16.43-B last year keeping the economy afloat, here again, few anti-OFW blood-sucking Congressmen imposing tax on our text messages to our love one back home,” Monterona added.

A would-be OFW or returning OFW usually spent P15,000 to P25,000 for the processing of his or her deployment formalities aside from the placement fee charge by recruitment agency which allowable amount is equivalent to 1-month salary of the OFW.

Monterona said his group will use text barrage urging fellow OFWs and their families to oppose HB 6625.

“OFWs and their families vow to oppose this tax on text messages; Migrante chapters in the Middle East are going to campaign against tax-on-text proponent-Congressm en come 2010 elections,” Monterona ended. # # #

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

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