4Ps party-list Rep. Marcelino Libanan wants to raise to $6,000 the aggregate tax-exempt purchases that returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other balikbayans may make at duty-free shops operated by the Department of Tourism.
Libanan filed House Bill No. 6472 seeking to upgrade the benefits and privileges enjoyed by homecoming Filipinos under a 33-year-old law that established the Balikbayan Program.
“Once enacted, we expect our measure to encourage a greater number of balikbayans to make their purchases here at home in DOT duty-free shops shortly after arrival, rather than in foreign stores, and help the Philippine economy generate more dollars,” he said.
A returning OFW is currently entitled to make only up to $3,500 in tax-exempt purchases at DOT duty-free shops.
The $3,500 ceiling is broken into $1,500 worth of discretionary consumer goods, plus up to $2,000 worth of livelihood tools under the exclusive kabuhayan shopping privilege.
Under Libanan’s bill, both categories of purchases at the DOT-run duty free shops would be raised to $3,000 each.
“The upward adjustments in the allowable tax-exempt purchases are needed to account for decades of cumulative price inflation, and to ensure that the shopping privileges remain substantial for the benefit of the balikbayans,” the lawmaker said.