Senator Bong Revilla wants remittance companies to fully disclose fees imposed on OFWs.
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Revilla bill requires disclosure of fees on OFW remittances
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - October 30, 2019 - 3:28pm

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. on Wednesday filed a bill that would require remittance agents and companies to fully disclose the fees charged when OFWs send money through their services. 

"The OFWs' total remittances made from April to September last year amounted to a total of P235.9 billion based on the records of the Philippine Statistics Authority," Revilla cited in a press release.

PSA records show that 52.8% of OFWs sent their remittances through banks, while the remaining 45% course remittance money through transfer services. The other 2% opted for agencies or local offices to handle the transmissions for them. 

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas also reported on October 15 that remittances sent home by OFWs went up by 4.2% to $2.87 billion in August from its $2.76 billion from just a year before.

If passed, remittance agents and companies will be required to be conform to the standards of the BSP, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

All such services are also expected to adhere to the real time exchange rates stipulated in the Reference Exchange Rate Bulletin of the BSP, who subject on local senders a flat rate transaction.

The bill also penalizes "price gouging, or the exorbitant charging of fees for the transactions" with imprisonment of from six to ten years and a fine ranging from P200,000 to P1 million. 

For Revilla, the bill declares that protecting citizens from deceptive, unfair and unconscionable acts of remittance agents and money transfer companies is a matter of state policy. 

"These OFWs dedicate all their labor and sacrifices for the betterment of their families. Their salaries, wages or earnings that they send home are products of love and hard work," he said. 

"Recognizing the valuable contribution of our OFWs in our economy, this measure seeks to protect the hard earned money of our OFWs," Revilla said.

Revilla has managed to return to the Senate after his acquittal by the Sandiganbayan in December 2018 after four years of detention in the Philippine National Police Custodial Center.

He had been charged over allegedly funnelling P517 million in his Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations into faux NGOs.  

The court said the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 

BONG REVILLA OFWS
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