Villar vows to protect OFW remittances with bill

Published August 11, 2022, 5:50 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Cynthia Villar has filed Senate Bill (SB) 1014, or the “Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) Remittance Protection Act”, for the purpose of protecting the money remittances of Filipino migrant workers.

Villar, a known advocate of OFWs, has been crafting measures to ensure the protection and welfare of OFWs while working abroad, as well as their families.

In filing the bill, Villar cited the State’s declaration of policy in recognizing the significant contribution of OFWs to the national economy through their foreign exchange remittances.

As such, she noted that the state should adopt measures to protect the hard-earned money they remit home against usurious interests and exorbitant fees charged by financial institutions that deplete the value of their remittances.

“The state shall also provide them and their families adequate education and training on financial literacy, such as financial planning and planning of finances, or savings,” Villar said.

She said these would help ensure a source of livelihood even after their employment abroad.

Furthermore, the senator said her bills intend to lessen the burden of OFWs in sending remittance to their families by minimizing the amount the remittance fees imposed by intermediaries and deducting tax to intermediaries based on the services rendered to OFWs.

Villar, chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, emphasized that remittances from OFWs abroad are a dependable source of funds for OFWs’ families back home.

In 2021, she related that cash remittances sent by OFWs hit a new high, reflecting the improvement in the global economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Based on the data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), remittances coursed through banks rose by 5.1 percent or $31.418 billion in 2021, from $29.903 billion in 2020.

The United States (US), at 40 percent, was the biggest source of remittances in 2021. It was followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Taiwan, Qatar, and South Korea.

These countries, Villar said, account for more than three-fourths or 79.8 percent of cash remittances sent the year.

According to Villar, the contribution of migrant workers to the Philippine economy is greatly appreciated and the inflow of remittances from overseas Filipinos remained resilient amid the lingering Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to high paying jobs, Villar said many Filipinos aspire to work abroad. This also gives them the opportunity to secure a better quality of life and future for their families and loved ones.