Migrant group warns customs agency

AN alliance of overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East today warns the Philippine Bureau of Customs (BoC) that it will be facing strong opposition from various OFWs organizations abroad including the 120 plus Migrante chapters around the world if it will push through its plan of charging anew all departing OFWs.

According to reports the BoC has proposed to charge all departing passengers, mostly OFWs, the amount of $1 to $2 to cover the payment of the overtime (OT) pay of its workers.

John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, said they have known that the BoC has already proposed to ink a memorandum of agreement in charging all departing passengers with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Bureau of Immigration and other concerned government agencies.

“The idea of charging anew the OFWs for payment of BoC employees OT is ridiculous, illegal and anti-OFW; it goes against the mandate of Migrant workers law and state policy of the government,” Monterona said.

Monterona added the agency that is perceived to earn a lot from tariffs and taxes is now passing the burden of paying its own employees to OFWs and their families.

“The inability of the BoC to pay its own employees OT has nothing to do with OFWs, they should raise their concern to the President by asking for a suitable budget allocation,” Monterona averred.

The Saudi-based OFW leader said every time there is a budget shortage in any concerned government agency, government officials could easily pin point OFWs as ‘never-ending-source’ of funds.

“We would like to tell the Aquino government to stop thinking that OFWs are like ‘goose that lays a golden egg’; every peso or dollar we earn abroad is a product of our own hard labor,” Monterona added.

Monterona said if the BoC has a budget shortage or could not meet its target collection it is because of the perceived rampant corruption inside the agency and partly due to the government’s blind adherence to WTO-GATT.

“Countries which subscribed the policies of WTO-GATT are told to relax the imposition of tariffs and taxes on foreign products so that it could freely penetrate the local market, this only favors foreign exporters,” he added.

‘We would like to make our message clear to Aquino administration, Migrante vows to oppose any additionall government charges or fees to OFWs,” Monterona ended.


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