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    Dollar remittances of OFWs seen to increase in 2017

    by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, March 20th, 2017

    MANILA — Cash remittances of overseas Filipino workers is expected to increase in 2017.

    Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) believes so after cash remittances have increased by 8.6 percent at the start of 2017.

    Based on preliminary data from the BSP, the amount of remittances recorded in January 2017 has reached 2.169 billion U.S. dollars which is greater than the 1.997 billion U.S. dollars in the same period last year.

    Remittances from Filipinos based in oil-producing countries like Qatar, one of the biggest oil producers in the world, contributed a lot.

    “We should also expect steady or stable demand for our overseas Filipino workers particularly in the Middle East, the oil-producing, oil-exporting countries. Especially the skills diversification of our overseas workers, and new markets that have been developed in the last few years,” said BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo.

    According to BSP, the growth of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines can also contribute to the dollar remittances.

    “The expansion is the question. The uncertainty is whether they will expand or not, but I don’t think they will pull out and they will remain,” said  Guinigundo.

    Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas believes that the government’s campaign against illegal drugs and criminality contributes to the increase of foreign investors in the country since peace and order is a big issue for them. —  Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

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    Taiwan to begin visa-free entry to Philippine Nationals on November 1

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, October 16th, 2017

    Philippine Nationals Visa-free entry to Taiwan

    Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that it will begin a trial on November 1 offering Philippine nationals visa-free entry to Taiwan for up to 14 days.

    Philippine nationals applying for visa-free entry into Taiwan must first – hold a standard passport valid for at least 6 months; second, hold a confirmed return plane or boat ticket; and third, have a clean criminal record.

    Filipinos will also be required to fill out an arrival card, and proof of hotel reservations or an address and contact details of where they will be staying in Taiwan.

    This trial is being done to attract Filipino visitors to Taiwan for tourism and business purposes, as well as to increase people-to-people exchanges between the countries.

    The free visa entry trial runs until July 31, 2018, and will be reviewed for further extension. Filipinos in Taiwan are excited to finally see their loved ones with less pressure from the immigration.

    “Masaya po and then sa tagal na hinihintay na ma-aprubahan ngayon na aprubahan na siya (We’re very happy. We’ve been waiting a long  time for its approval and not it’s been approved),” OFW Lucila Castro said.

    “Para sa akin po maganda kasi kahit hindi kami makauwi ng Pinas pwede namin papuntahin yung family namin dito sa Taiwan ng wala ng ginagastos na visa (For me, it is great because even if we can’t go home to the Philippines, we could bring our family to Taiwan without spending for visa),” OFW Jenalyn Lacap said.

    Meanwhile, the government will urge the Philippine government to reciprocate with visa-free treatment for Taiwan nationals.

    According to statistics from the National Immigration Agency, Filipinos made a total of 161,303 visits to Taiwan between January and July this year, a year-on-year increase of 73.51% over the visits made in 2016. – Amiel Pascual | UNTV News & Rescue

     

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    PHL embassies in Guam, Japan and South Korea prepare contingency plans following NoKor missile threat

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, August 11th, 2017

    MANILA, Philippines — “Experts say North Korea’s missile threat is not credible. But of course we shouldn’t take the current tension for granted,” Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said.

    This was in line with the growing threat of missile strike from North Korea, in consideration of the safety of Filipinos in neighboring countries Japan, Guam and South Korea.

    Embassies of the Philippines in the said countries are now coordinating with officials in their country of assignment as regard the consolidation of contingency plans in case the tension escalates.

    “Given this new development, embassies are now updating their contingency plans to suit the current situation,” said Bolivar.

    North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-Un recently threatened to launch a missile strike to Guam, one of the territories of the United States in the Pacific where its military facilities are located.

    This could obviously affect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) residing in Guam and also in Japan and South Korea.

    But DFA assured that the situation in the said countries remains normal and there is nothing to worry about as regards the safety of the Filipinos.

    “Like what our embassies are saying, tourist arrival in Guam is still normal,” said Bolivar. — Macky Libradilla | UNTV News & Rescue

     

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    BOC blames local forwarders for criticism against new balikbayan box regulation

    by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, July 21st, 2017

    MANILA, Philippines  —The new regulation of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) on balikbayan boxes drew flak on social media.

    The controversial regulation requires senders to detail the contents of their packages.

    But the BOC explained the new rule is for the welfare and safety of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

    The agency argued it just wants to protect the valuables of OFWs so it could safely arrive to their loved ones in the Philippines.

    The BOC said the false impression arose from the vested interests of local forwarders or deconsolidators

    It explained that senders are not required to include the receipt of the items of their packages if its contents are not new or expensive.

    Customs officials argued that the new regulation is just an assurance that OFWs will not abuse the privilege given by the government that balikbayan boxes with contents not exceeding P150,000 pesos will not be taxed.

    They added that the regulation would also prevent the smuggling of contrabands.

    BOC-CMTA project manager Althea Acas said, “It’s just common sense because if they are fooling us, and they are sending 20 MacBook Air, they should pay their tax and duties.”

    They noted that the new regulation will not be a burden because there will no longer be a reason for the delay of packages.

    Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon reminded OFWs, “Let me repeat, you itemize it.”

    “Even though you it took you one day to fill it [balikbayan box] it will not take you an hour to write down what you placed inside since it’s only one box,” he added.

    Meanwhile, Customs reminds senders of balikbayan boxes to send their packages via legitimate, authorized and registered forwarders only. — Macky Libradilla | UNTV News & Rescue

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