The House committee on overseas workers affairs chaired by Rep. Jesulito Manalo (Party-list, ANGKLA) has approved House Bill 6138 seeking to grant travel tax exemption to dependents of married or solo parent overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
The bill seeks to amend Sections 3 and 35 of the Republic Act (RA) No. 8042, otherwise known as the “Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995”, as amended by RA No. 10022.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez (1st District, Davao del Norte), principal author of the bill, said the contribution of OFWs to the country’s revenue-raising effort and economic standing, in general, is undeniably significant, with their total yearly remittances amounting to billions of pesos.
“As they have always been acknowledged, the OFWs are Philippine society’s modern-day heroes,” Alvarez said.
He said the government has as much as possible conferred upon these OFWs privileges and protection in various matters.
“This notwithstanding, there is still some void to fill as the so-called solo parent OFWs face some sort inequity in the field of taxation,” Alvarez said.
He explained that children of these single parent modern-day heroes are currently denied exemptions from travel tax, an incentive to which kids of their married counterparts are entitled as provided for under RA No. 6768, as amended.
“Considering that solo parent OFWs are as equally worthy of government recognition as those married Filipino migrant workers, this unfortunate circumstance must be remedied,” Alvarez said.
He added there should be undivided and impartial recognition of the laudable and selfless hard work of all OFWs.
The bill amends Section 3 of RA No. 8042 to read as follows: “Section 3. Definitions. – For purpose of this Act:
(B) ‘SOLO PARENT’ AS DEFINED UNDER SECTION 3 (A) OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8972, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE “SOLO PARENTS’ WELFARE ACT OF 2000;
(C) ‘DEPENDENTS’ REFER TO THE FOLLOWING:
(1) SPOUSE AND CHILDREN OF THE MARRIED OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKER; AND
(2) CHILDREN OF THE SOLO PARENT OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKER.
Likewise, the measure amends 35 of RA 8042 to read as follows:
“Sec. 35. Exemption from Travel Tax, Documentary Stamp Tax as Airport Fee. – All laws to the contrary notwithstanding, the migrant worker AND HIS OR HER DEPENDENTS shall be exempt from the payment of travel tax and airport fee upon showing of entitlement by the POEA.
The remittances of all overseas Filipino workers, upon showing of the same proof of entitlement by the overseas Filipino worker’s beneficiary or recipient, shall be exempt from the payment of documentary stamp tax.”
The bill states that within six months from the effectivity of the Act, the Secretary of Finance shall, upon the recommendation of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for its effective implementation.
The measure also calls for the further amendment of RA No. 6768, as amended, otherwise known as “An Act Instituting A Balikbayan Program.
Alvarez said RA No. 8042, as amended, otherwise known as the “Migrant Workers” and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995”,” grants travel tax exemption solely to OFWs and not to their dependents.
“This is contrary to the provisions of RA No. 6768,” the Speaker said.
Other authors of the bill are Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas (1st District, Ilocos Norte), Reps. Dakila Carlo Cua (Lone District, Quirino), chairman of the committee on ways and means and Lucy T. Gomez (4th District, Leyte), chairperson of the committee on tourism.
The bill will be referred to the committee on ways and means for approval of tax provisions.