Lawmaker urges banks to slash OFW remittance charges amid high inflation

MANILA, Philippines – A lawmaker on Saturday, July 7, reiterated his plea to banks to slash charges on remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), as inflation hit a fresh high in June due to rising food and fuel prices.

To ease the burden of the OFWs' families, ACTS-OFW Representative Aniceto Bertiz III urged banks to cut to 5% the average 10.57% transfer charge on remittances of migrant workers.

"Reducing the cost of bank remittance services to 5% would mean some $1.5 billion or P80.1 billion in cost-savings and extra money in the pockets of our migrant workers and their families every year," he argued.

Bertiz said any financial gains of  OFWs over the strong US dollar are "being negated" by rising  prices in the country.

"The inflationary impact of rising oil prices has eroded whatever higher value migrant workers are getting from their earnings in dollars," he said.

He first made the suggestion last month, during the celebration of Migrant Workers' Day.

The country's inflation rate as of June 2018 is at 5.2%, exceeding both government and market expectations. The peso breached the P53-to-$1 level in June, falling to its weakest level since 2006. 

Meanwhile, Bertiz advised OFWs to "protect themselves and their families by saving and investing persistently."

Citing data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the World Bank, Bertiz said that OFWs remitted $28.1 billion in "personal cash" through banks in 2017, as well as $4.9 billion through non-bank remittance channels. – Michael Bueza/Rappler.com