‘OFWs will be hit hard by Aquino’s AO 31’- group

OVERSEAS Filipino workers (OFWs) will be hit hard by President Benigno Aquino’s new order to hike government fees.’

Thus, said today by Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) reacting to the recently signed Administrative Order by the Philippine President that would allow state agencies and government owned and controlled corporations to raise existing fees and impose new charges if necessary.

Administrative Order No. 31, per news report, was signed by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III on October 1, 2012 and will immediately took effect.

“The rates of fees and charges collected must be just and reasonable to enable the government to effectively provide services without straining the National Government’s resources,” the order stated.

“Equity requires that persons receiving or benefiting from rendered services share the cost of providing such services,” the signed AO#31 added.

Reacting to this, M-ME regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said,“The Aquino administration should stop using ‘effective govt. services’ as a guise in order to impose unjustified and unnecessary govt. fees and charges to its people including OFWs and their families, where in fact govt. services and programs are still wanting and yet in the proposed General Appropriation Act almost all govt. social services and programs have been slashed.”

“PNoy’s Administrative Order No. 31 is anti-OFW, as we, OFWs and our dependents are already bleeding dry from unnecessary government fees and charges impose to us,” said M-ME regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona.

Monterona said OFWs and their families have valid reasons to oppose PNoy’s AO#31.

“For one, OFWs are being charged for around P15,000 to P30,000 for documentation needed for our deployment formalities on top of the placement fee equivalent to 1-month salary of the deployed OFW,” Monterona, who enumerated the documents needed such as Authenticated Birth Certificate, NBI clearance and authentication, Authentication of school credentials, Passport application or renewal, Community tax certificates, POEA processing fee, PAG-IBIG membership fee, Philhealth premium from P900 will rise to P2,400 January next year, OWWA membership equivalent to US$25, among other expenses.

Monterona said all the fees he cited above are covered by PNoy’s AO#31, which will not only allow, but actually an order, to all government agencies and owned and controlled corporations to implement government fee hikes.

“With PNoy’s AO#31, also consular fees abroad will eventually increase. In fact, the current fees are already a burden to OFWs, such as the renewal of passport costing an OFW around P2,600,” Monterona cited.

Monterona noted with the current dollar-peso exchange rate, OFWs’ remittances were slashed of about 5% to 10%, which would mean ‘tightening of belt’ amid continuing oil price hikes and of basic goods and impending electricity and water rates hike, too.

“The PNoy is so insensitive on the economic hardship felt by OFWs and families, and the millions of ordinary Filipino workers and urban poor,” Monterona

“We call on our fellow OFWs and families to join our campaign calling for the scrapping of PNoy’s anti-OFW and anti-people AO#31,” Monterona added.

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