PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 December, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 December, 2002, 12:00am

Hiding behind 'Name and Address Supplied' your correspondent who wrote the letter headlined 'Consulate's opposition to proposed levy a display of double standards' (South China Morning Post, December 18), got his facts wrong.

In recognition of the great sacrifice they pay leaving their families behind to earn a living in other countries and their substantial contribution to the Philippine economy, overseas Filipino workers are not required to pay taxes on their income derived from outside the Philippines. They are also exempt from the payment of travel tax and airport terminal fee.

Under Philippine regulations, only domestic helpers bound for the first time for Hong Kong are required to pass through a duly-accredited employment agency.

This is for the benefit of those who would be unable to find employment on their own and for the protection of the Filipino worker from illegal recruiters. The Philippine government will hold accountable this accredited agency should anything go wrong with the employment arrangement. Those renewing their contracts or transferring to a new employer need not go through an agency as they can process their contracts under the direct hire (name hire) system.

The placement fee is only the equivalent of one month's salary ($3,670) plus 5,000 pesos (HK$757) to cover administrative and documentation costs.

Your correspondent wrongly quoted the notarisation and renewal of employment contract fee as $500 and $300 respectively when the processing of an employment contract at the Philippine Consulate is a mere $85.

It is unkind for 'Name And Address Supplied' to say that 'domestic helpers are a burden to Hong Kong taxpayers'. The Hong Kong SAR government has acknowledged the significant contributions of these workers to Hong Kong society.

These workers also spend a substantial part of their income in Hong Kong amounting to $3.6 billion, much more than the $1.4 billion sought to be generated by the proposed levy.


Consulate-General of the Philippines