MANILA – The Migrante partylist called for a ‘Zero-Remittance Day’ on Friday, August 28, as a protest of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) against high taxes imposed on ‘balikbayan’ boxes and air parcels by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
After the halt of random inspections on ‘balikbayan’ boxes, OFWs then sought for tax exemptions, especially to air parcels or small packages delivered to the post office or by private couriers.
“We are pleased that the President has spoken on the issue of random inspection of our balikbayan boxes… But all the beautiful words cannot hide the fact that the administration has imposed on BOC a P600-million revenue target from balikbayan boxes, Migrante said in a statement on its Facebook page.
Balikbayan boxes worth P10,000 and below received tax exemptions while parcels had no exemptions and even entailed a 30 to 40 percent tax depending on the contents of the parcels plus the fixed 12 percent value added tax.
“Mas matuwa kame kung sasabihin ng Presidente na ‘wag ng lagyan ng taxes o buwis ‘yung mga balikbayan boxes (We will be better-off if the President would order [the BOC] to no longer impose taxes on balikbayan boxes),” Migrante partylist chairperson Connie Bragas-Regalado said.
“Sa Friday po, August 28, mungkahe na ‘to mula mismo sa mga chapters sa labas ng bansa na ilunsad ‘yung ‘Zero-Remittance Day’ (On Friday, August 28, this has been proposed by chapters outside the country, to declare a ‘Zero-Remittance Day’),” she added.
Bragas-Regalado also disclosed that the ‘Zero-Remittance Day’ will be launched globally and that Migrante would hold a protest march outside the BOC office in Manila on the same day.
“Iba’t-ibang bahagi ng mundo ay magkakaroon ng paglunsad ng ‘Zero-Remittance Day’ (Different parts of the world will initiate the ‘Zero-Remittance Day’),” she said.
“Ito ay isang political action, bilang pag-rehistro na ang mga OFWs ay patuloy na lalabanan kung anuman yung mga anti-migrante, anti-people na mga patakaran ng gobyernong Aquino (This is a political action that will show OFWs continuously fighting against any anti-migrant, anti-people policy of the Aquino government),” she added.
Should the BOC fail to take action on the OFWs calls, Migrante warned that they may extend the day-long protest into a month-long action.
Meanwhile, a resolution in Congress has been passed to remove taxes or increase ceiling from P10,000 to P150,000 for tax-exempt value on balikbayan boxes and air parcels.
The BOC, for their part, stressed that they were only fulfilling the duties of the agency to collect taxes and seize smugglers.