House bill granting discount on OFW remittances passes final reading

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 15) -- The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to provide a 50% discount on remittance fees imposed on overseas Filipino workers.

Voting 224-0 on Tuesday, lawmakers unanimously approved House Bill 7951, which mandates bank and non-bank financial intermediaries to slash in half its charges on money OFWs send home to their immediate family members.

Under the proposed law, these financial institutions may claim the discounts they granted as tax deductions based on the cost of services rendered to OFWs.

"The total deduction from the gross income of establishments providing discounts should not exceed ₱24,000 per OFW every taxable year," the measure added.

It also prohibits all establishments offering remittance services from raising their current remittance fees without prior consultation with the Department of Finance, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

Additionally, the measure directs the DOF, BSP, POEA and other agencies to provide a financial education program to OFWs and their families to guide them on how to better handle their earnings.