Malacañang on Saturday said it respected the decision of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to hold more mass actions against the Bureau of Customs’ plan to tighten rules on balikbayan boxes.
The militant labor group Migrante had said OFWs will turn the Zero Remittance Day into a Zero Vote campaign against administration candidates in the upcoming elections.
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said it is up to the OFWs to choose the candidates they want in the next election.
“Karapatan po nilang mamili kung sino po ang gusto nilang iboto sa darating na eleksyon (They have the right to choose their next leaders),” Valte said in a radio interview.
“Ang inaasahan lang po natin ay siyempre mababase po ito sa plataporma; mababase po ito doon sa ano po ba ‘yung ikagaganda pa ng ating bansa, at ‘yung ikabubuti pa ng buhay ng ating mga pamilya (We only hope that this decision will be based on platform, on programs that will spur growth),” she added.
Valte said OFWs are free to express their sentiments on issues, admitting that the balikbayan box controversy unleashed a lot of messages from different parts of the world.
“At ang lagi ko pong sinasabi sa kanila ay malaya silang ipahayag ang kanilang mga saloobin whether they join a ‘no remittance day’ or they may send government a message on Facebook or they can post their sentiments online or magpa-interview sila sa media (I always tell them that they are free to express their sentiments, whether they join a “no remittance day,” Valte said.
Filipinos abroad did not remit cash to the Philippines on Friday but the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the zero remittance day had no significant impact on the economy.
Cash sent home by overseas Filipinos help fuel the country’s consumption-induced economic growth.
The BOC had said it will come out with the revised regulations on how to handle balikbayan boxes next week.