Friday, August 28, 2015

OFWs in HK ready for ‘zero-remittance day’ –Migrante

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong are coordinating with their families in the Philippines in preparation for Friday's "zero-remittance day" protest targeting the Bureau of Customs (BOC), a report on Balitanghali said Thursday, citing migrants' rights group Migrante.

"Nago-organisa na kami sa mga pamilya namin sa Pilipinas para talagang patalsikin na ang mga nangungurakot na ito, 'yung mga nangigipit sa mga OFW," Vicky Casia-Cabantac, chairperson of Migrante-Hong Kong, said in the report.

Like their counterparts in the Philippines, members of Migrante-Hong Kong held a rally on Wednesday to protest the BOC policies that they said were anti-OFWs, among them the aborted plan to manually inspect balikbayan boxes.

Sol Pilas, Migrante's secretary general, doubted the BOC's claims that the inspection would help curb technical smuggling as the bureau has not revealed its parameters for determining which balikbayan boxes should undergo inspection.

"Discretionary na ng BOC, 'yung pwede nilang sabihin, 'Mukhang [smuggled] 'yan, buksan 'yan," Pilas said on Balitanghali.

She added that the inspection would belittle the significance of the packages, which she said symbolized the hard work of the OFWs who sent them.

"Sagrado 'yung door-to-door boxes na 'yan. Kasi 'yan ay binalot ng may pagmamahal," Pilas said.

The zero-remittance protest on Friday may cost the country some P3.1 billion in personal remittances from Filipinos, Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero said Wednesday.

However, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. claimed a similar initiative in 2013 did not have any negative impact on the economy. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News 

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