Saturday, October 3, 2009

Suspend BIR’s DST

Press Release
04 October 2009

OFW group demands suspension of BIR’s documentary stamp tax on OFW remittance as thousands OFW families, dependents devastated by typhoon “Ondoy”

Migrante-Middle East, an alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ organizations in the Middle East today demanded from the Arroyo government to suspend the charging of the Bureau on Internal Revenue’s (BIR) documentary stamp tax on OFW remittances providing relief to OFW families and dependent hit hard by typhoon “Ondoy”.

“Suspension of the BIR’s documentary stamp tax which is 0.05% imposed for every US$200 remitted by OFW would give ease to OFWs families and dependents; this amount will be better spent by OFW families and dependent for their most basic need such as foods,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona said Migrante chapters around the world have been actively campaigning for the removal of the BIR documentary stamp tax on OFWs remittances as this would equate a direct tax imposed by the government to OFWs channeled through remittance service centers.

“This is contrary to the government’s declared policy that OFWs should not be subjected to numerous tax impositions in recognition of their valuable contribution to the economy,” Monterona added.

The OFW leader noted there are several bills filed in Congress in both chamber aimed for the removal of the BIR’s documentary stamp tax on OFWs remittances. “But until now it were not acted upon by our members of the Senate and House of Representatives, and these will not be tackled until after the elections,” Monterona continued.

“But since, the BIR is under the direct supervision and administrative guidance of the Department of Finance under the Executive branch, Mrs. Arroyo could order the implementing agency to stop charging the documentary stamp tax to OFWs remittances especially this hardest time that many OFWs families and dependents have been devastated by typhoon “Ondoy” in Metro Manila and nearby provinces,” Monterona added.

Migrante closely estimated an almost 15-M OFWs families and dependents living in Metro Manila and about 10-M from Southern Tagalog region and nearby provinces like Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite and Pampanga that were also affected by the typhoon.

Meanwhile, Migrante-ME announces that its chapters in the Middle East are still accepting donations preferably in cash amid the recent directives issued by the Arroyo government that all goods coming from abroad will be under tight watch by the Bureau of Customs especially if its not directed to the Department of Social Worker and Development (DSWD).

“Our Migrante relief coordinating teams have apprehensions that the numerous boxes of goods that it gathered from kindhearted fellow OFWs donors would not reach to typhoon victims-beneficiaries because of the recent directive issued by Mrs. Arroyo fearing that it will be held at Philippine ports by the BoC and would hamper the distribution of these goods,” Monterona averred.

“That’s is why to those who would like to donate for typhoon victims, we are urging them to instead donate cash rather than goods amid this directive issued by the Arroyo government; we will reach you out there to get your cash donations even if it is only 1 riyal; kindly get in touch with our coordinating teams and point persons,” Monterona added.

Migrante-Middle East chapters have already collected almost 2.4 tons of goods, the bulk of which came from OFWs from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia; some of the boxes of goods have already been forwarded to cargo Forwarders for delivery at Migrante International office in Quezon City for distribution to affected OFWs communities; while cash donations and pledges are estimated to reach 2,600 Riyals.

“We would like to thank our fellow OFWs, the Filipino Communities and different Filipino Organizations who joined us to these noble efforts of sending us your donations to typhoon victims. Sama-sama pa rin tayo sa pagtulong!” 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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