SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
29 October 2020 07:30:06 PM
In a move to further help overseas Filipino workers and their families, the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, chaired by Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza (TUCP, Party-list), approved on Thursday the Committee Report on the Substitute Bill to House Bill 826 or the “Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) Remittance Protection Act,” authored by Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. The substitute bill proposes discounts of up to 50 percent on OFW remittance fees, and would likewise impose a limit on remittance charges and tax incentives to financial and non-bank financial institutions. The panel was also given an update by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in the situation of OFWs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola, the DFA already handled a total of 233,742 repatriations of OFWs from 80 countries and from 135 cruise ships. They likewise anticipate at least 111,258 OFWs to be repatriated by December 2020. The DFA was also granted additional funding through the Bayanihan 2 Law to further facilitate the agency’s repatriation program due to the current health crisis. “We would like to thank Congress for granting us an additional funding of P820-million to answer to the COVID-19 pandemic and this is going to be used for the repatriation and relief of our OFWs,” Arriola said. The DFA also informed the committee that currently, 11,224 OFWs were infected by the COVID-19. Of these, 3,153 are active cases while there are 7,254 recoveries and 817 deaths.