TORONTO – Filipinos recently aired their opposition to a proposal in Philippine Congress forcing them to remit money to their families in the Philippines or risk having their passports not renewed in consular offices worldwide.
The Pinoys are protesting House Bill 3576, authored by Congressman Roy Señeres of the OFW Partylist.
"Tutol kami sa pag-pro-propose nung forced remittance bill dahil hindi ito makatarungan. Mag-re-remit kami ayon sa aming kagustuhan hindi batay doon sa kagustuhan ng gobyerno," said Maru Maesa, chairperson of iWWorkers-Migrante.
House Bill 3576 requires OFWs to submit proof of remittance to a dependent back in the Philippines as one of the requirements for passport renewal in consular offices abroad.
A sworn complaint from a dependent back home that an OFW is not remitting directs consular officers to withhold the renewal or approval of passport of the OFW in question.
Pinoys in Toronto join other OFWs worldwide against what they call is "forced remittance."
They said the proposal will make living in Toronto more difficult for them as they are already struggling with a minimum wage of $10.25 that is below the poverty line.
"Kung matutuloy po yung forced remittance for OFWs, it will be a big burden for OFWs. Kasi po dito sa abroad, di naman naming pinupulot yung pera," said OFW Charity Francia.
Migrante's Jonathan Canchela added, "Nananawagan po kami sa mga kababayan natin sa ibang bansa, mga naghahanap-buhay para sa kanilang mga pamilya, na tutulan po ito. Tututulan po namin ito sa Kongreso ng Pilipinas at tututulan namin ito, lalung-lalo na dito sa Canada at tututulan namin ito sa kalsada," Canchela said.
Pinoys aired their opposition during a rally celebrating International Women's Day where they also expressed their support for women's rights, and reiterated calls to increase minimum wage to $14 per hour.
Pinoy rights groups in Toronto said they will continue to air their opposition to HB 3576 even through the parliament in the streets.