House Bill No. 9032 or the “Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) Remittance Protection Act” is on its way to give more benefits to our modern day heroes — and this time, it covers their hard-earned money or remittances! House Bill No. 9032 was authored by Pampanga Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr., that will give a discount to remittance fees of OFWs depending on the amount being remitted! The bill is now approved on the second reading at the House of Representatives.
“These OFW remittances are transferred from the OFW to intermediaries, such as financial and non-bank financial institutions, before they reach their beneficiaries. In the course of the fund transfer, the amounts remitted are subject to several fees and high remittance charges which result in the depletion of the amount to be remitted and received,” said Gonzales.
It intends to ensure “effective mechanisms be instituted to ensure the protection of rights and interests of OFWs.”
If passed into law, OFWs will enjoy the following
50% discount for remittances of not more than $500 or its equivalent in other currencies
40% discount for for $500-1,000
30% discount for $1,000-1,500
20% discount, for $1,500-2,000
10% discount for over $2,000
The bill also prohibits banks and non-bank financial intermediaries from raising remittance fees without consultation with the Department of Finance, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
The bill will also penalize, among others, misappropriation or conversion of foreign exchange remittances, taking remittances without the consent of the OFW or the beneficiary, and an imposition of fees in excess of those allowed.
If found guilty of the prohibited acts, the bill proposes a P50,000-750,000 fine and subject offenders to 2 months to 20 years of imprisonment.
Aside from these, OFWs and their families will be given a mandatory financial education program that will include financial management, budgeting, investment options, and other related topics. The goal here is to educate OFWs and their families with regards to earnings and remittances.