Saturday, October 3, 2009

Arroyo regulating donations from abroad

Press Release
2 October 2009

OFW group hits Arroyo’s directive on regulating donations from abroad;
seen to hamper entry of goods, cash badly needed by typhoon victims

Migrante-Middle East, the largest alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ organizations in the Middle East actively involve in seeking donations among the Filipino Communities and OFWs organizations today said the latest Arroyo directive regulating donations from abroad is uncalled for and will only hamper the coming in of goods badly needed by typhoon victims.

“Mrs. Arroyo’s latest directive regulating the coming in of donations from abroad is an act of pure selfishness and mediocrity disallowing cause-oriented groups and non-government organizations’ collected donations to come in for the benefits of thousands typhoon victims,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

On her issued directed on 29th September, Mrs. Arroyo said “Ikatlo, hindi sisingilan ng buwis o kukumpiskahan ng Bureau of Customs ang mga donasyon ng pagkain at kagamitan mula sa ibang bayan, basta't ito ay naka-assign sa DSWD.”

As she said, her government will never impose taxes and will not confiscate if donations will be directed to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

“So it means if donations are not directed to DSWD, the Bureau of Customs will confiscate these boxes of goods reaching Philippine ports. This is ridiculous!” Monterona exclaimed.

Monterona added such directive is unreasonable too. He said many of the donations from Filipino Communities and Filipino organizations have decided to entrust their donations to Migrante, people’s organizations and other cause-oriented groups, and not to the RP posts because they are not trusting the Arroyo government that has numerous allegations of corruptions, government fund misuses and diversion including the 800-M Emergency fund which was allegedly used during her lavish foreign trips.

Item no.5 on her said directive asking remittance Service centers not to charge transaction fees to all cash donations so long as it is directed to DSWD shows Mrs. Arroyo’s power-tripping skills that curtail freedom of its people to willingly donate on their own respective way and capability for typhoon victims.

“Donations in the form of cash and goods should be tax-free and should not be put under strict regulations and confiscation especially if it comes from the Filipino Communities and Filipino organizations abroad. Why Mrs. Arroyo is imposing strict regulations that will only hamper coming in of donations (cash and goods) from abroad which typhoon victims badly needed?” Monterona added.

Monterona said the Filipino communities and other Filipino organizations conveyed to him their fears and apprehension that their donations (clothes, canned goods and cash) may not reach to typhoon victims because of Mrs. Arroyo’s issued directives indirectly instructing the Bureau of Customs to confiscate goods from abroad if it is not for DSWD.

“We are urging all kindhearted OFWs, the Filipino Communities and Filipino organizations and our donors abroad to join us petition the Arroyo government that imposes strict regulations such as confiscation and imposing remittance tax to our donations if it is not directed to DSWD. This is but an arrogant exercise of power curtailing our freedom and desire to help our fellow kababayans, victims of typhoon blamed anyway for this very government’s unpreparedness to protect its people from calamity,” Monterona said.

“This is indeed a disaster worsened by the Arroyo government itself!” Monterona ended. # # #

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

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