Global recession feared, return of overseas Filipino workers eyed

March 03, 2019

IF elected for a fifth term in the Senate in the upcoming midterm elections, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said that one of his priority measures will be to boost opportunities for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to work in the Philippines so that they can return to their families and amid an impending global recession which may leave many OFWs jobless.

“I will advocate a revision of the constitution to remove all barriers to foreign investment in the country so that we can create massive number of jobs to solve the problem of Filipino families broken because some members will have to go overseas to earn a living,” Enrile said in an interview.

A staunch advocate for the welfare of OFWs, Enrile authored Republic Act No. 8424, also known as the Comprehensive Tax Reform Law, which exempted OFWs from paying income taxes in the Philippines.

“I was the one who exempted all of these people from paying taxes on their income abroad under Philippine law when I revised the internal revenue code in 1997,” he explained.

Under the same law, he also sponsored a provision exempting all Filipinos residing abroad from payment of Philippine income tax on income earned abroad. In the previous Tax Code, this income was taxed in the Philippines even if it had already been subjected to tax abroad.

The former Senate President has also warned that boosting opportunities for OFWs in the local job market will be a necessity due to an impending global recession which may leave many OFWs jobless.

In a separate interview, Enrile said, “There will be a reduction in available jobs in Europe, the Middle East, and in other parts of the world because there will be a recession. The economies of these countries are slowing down. They are reducing (migrant workers). They are closing down.”

“The OFWs who lose their jobs will be sent back to the Philippines. This is the problem that we are faced with and we need to be ready for it so that, when our OFWs return, they have jobs to depend on,” he added.

“This is why I said we should open the country to foreign investment so that they will have jobs here in case they lose their jobs abroad,” the veteran lawmaker warned, adding, “This is why we need capital. You cannot create industries, commerce, businesses, and jobs without capital.”

In November 2018, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) composite leading indicator fell to 99.3 points. The indicator is at its lowest since October 2017 and is expected to fall further.