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CHAN ROBLES AND ASSOCIATES LAW FIRM - Welcome to the Home of the Philippine On-Line Legal Resources
Sponsored by:  The ChanRobles Group
This web page features the full text of the
Handbook for Filipinos Overseas.
3rd Edition
A Project of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas of the Department of Foreign Affairs
1st - 7th Floors, Citigold Tower,  1345 Quirino Avenue corner South Super Highway, Manila, Philippines
P.O. Box 1388 Manila Philippines
  Philippines 2000  
   Beginnings of Philippines 2000    Value/Belief System of Philippines 2000 
   Components of Philippines 2000 Strategy    Filipinos Overseas and Philippines 2000
  The Philippine Economy at a Glance 
  Filipinos Overseas 
  Philippine Congress and the Protection of Filipinos Overseas 
   Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995    Inter-Country Adoption Act  
   Land Ownership by Filipinos Overseas 
  The Filipina Overseas and Philippines 2000 
  Off to Another Country
   Passport Application   Travel Tax 
  Assistance to Filipinos Overseas 
   Assistance-to-Nationals Task Force
  The Filipinos Overseas as Citizens  
   Tax Obligations of Filipinos Overseas    Remittances from Filipinos Overseas  
   Donations from Filipinos Overseas    LINKAPIL  
   Exports thru Expats 
  Filipinos Overseas as Entrepreneurs  
   Doing Business in the Philippines: A Checklist 
   Incentives under the Omnibus Investment Act of 1987  
   Investment Priorities Plan for 1995     Foreign Investments Act of 1991  
   Special Investors Resident Visa 
  Immigration Policies  
   Non-quota Immigrant     Student Visa    Special Study Permit  
   Waiver of Exclusion Ground 
  Programs for Returning Filipino Migrants  
   Lakbay-Aral    Bring Home a Friend    Balikbayan Program  
   Balikbayan Plus Card    Kabuhayan 2000: Sa Pagbabalik ng Pinoy  
   Retirement Program    Pag-IBIG Fund for Filipino Overseas Workers (FILOW)  

The second edition of the Handbook for Filipinos Overseas was released in September 1993. It was also the year President Fidel V. Ramos formally launched the Philippines 2000 after months of nationwide and multi-sectoral consultation aimed at drafting the blueprint of the country's sustainable development agenda. The Philippines 2000 banner was eventually unfurled through a development strategy under the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan [MTPDP] for 1993-1998.

After three years, President Ramos opened the curtains of the 10th Congress with a State of the Nation Address on July 24, 1995. Three of the six major goals the administration have set its sight on for the next three years will directly impact upon the resolute effort of its people, including Filipinos overseas, to rise above the present challenges and acquire a new role as nation-builders. These goals are: to adapt to a competitive world economy, to prevent the perpetuation of poverty, and to acquire economic capability and self-reliance. Since the country's relations with other nations and the role of overseas Filipinos would have a significant effect on these goals, the instituted pillars of the country's foreign policy have been further defined and reinforced to cover three priority areas: political security, economic diplomacy, and protection of Filipinos overseas.

Filipinos overseas are indeed becoming more involved with the national recovery and development efforts. The National Economic Development Authority [NEDA] has recognized the need to look to overseas Filipinos in the consultation process for the formulation of the Long Philippine Term Development Plan. The involvement is critical in the light of the policy invoked by the President and the Philippine Congress in effecting measures that would facilitate the re-integration of overseas Filipinos within the mainstream of national development. The Filipino migrants and their families are also expected to continue to identify with the country and shall therefore be expected to promote the country's welfare in their area of influence.

By the 21st Century, the Filipino is envisioned to be: mobile, flexible, entrepreneurial, nationalistic, and tolerant.

It is along these thrusts that the Third Edition of the Handbook for Overseas Filipinos is being crafted. This publication is intended to provide you with information on a wide range of policies, programs, and activities of the Philippine government, which may affect you, particularly with respect to your various concerns and interest in the country. It is hoped that awareness of these issues would create better understanding and appreciation of existing policies, and foster greater linkages between you and those in the homeland.

 ............dahil saan ka man naroon, PILIPINO KA PA RIN.

Sana ay hindi natin malimutan ang kagandahang-asal na likas sa ating pagiging Pilipino.

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  Philippines 2000 is the Filipino people's vision of development by the year 2000. It is at the same time, a strategy and a movement.

As a VISION, it pictures the Philippines as a God-centered, people-empowered and prosperous national community by the year 2000 where the least among the Filipinos has the decent minimum of food, clothing, shelter, and dignity. By the year 2000, it sees the country as having properly addressed its internal problems as to make it fully capable of handling and benefitting from its international relations.

As a STRATEGY, it gives emphasis to the pre-conditions that must be established to successfully realize the goal of an improved quality of life for each Filipino through the twin strategies of international competitiveness and people empowerment as embodied in the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) for 1993-1998.

As a MOVEMENT, the Philippines 2000 is a call for unity among Filipinos, a call for strategic alliance among key development actors- the government, business/private sector, labor, and NGOs/POs.

Because the phrase "Philippines 2000" has immediately caught public attention, it can also be considered a "battlecry" to rally all Filipinos to work together towards attaining the country's vision of development.

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Beginnings of Philippines 2000

Prior to its formal launching, Philippines 2000, as a movement, had started to gather momentum in the form of multi-sectoral consultations that sought to address the problems facing the country today, reinforcing the need for a rallying point and a concrete action program to prepare the Philippines for entry into the 21st century. The people behind this movement are those from the government, business/private sector, labor and NGOs/POs forming a strategic alliance under the active leadership of President Fidel V. Ramos.

On January 21, 1993, President Ramos formally launched Philippines 2000 at the Department of Science and Technology Multi-Sectoral Workshop. Its importance as a key government thrust was reaffirmed by the President during the 7th EDSA Anniversary celebration last February 25, 1993 with the launching of the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan for 1993-1998 which the President dubbed as the "roadmap" to attain the vision of Philippines 2000.

The year 2000 was chosen because it represents not just the turn of the century, but more significantly, the entry of the Philippines and the whole world into a new millennium. This transition connotes change for the better which should inspire commitment and sustained action from everyone.

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 Value/Belief System of Philippines 2000

Philippines 2000 is based on the vision that sees Filipinos as God-centered, people-empowered national community, where ordinary Filipinos take control of every aspect of their lives -- their livelihood, their politics, and their culture. It draws from the essence of the Filipino personality which views development as both material and moral and which basically affirms and values life (buhay), and human relationships (kapwa, pakikisama, and pagbubuklod).

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 Components of Philippines 2000 Strategy

As a strategy, Philippines 2000 is basically made up of two parts. The first is the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (1993-1998) which sets down social and economic development policies, programs and strategies that should enable the country to realize its goal of an improved quality of life for all Filipinos by the 21st century. Guided by the twin strategies of People Empowerment and Global Excellence, the Plan also serves as the road map to attain the vision of Philippines 2000.

The second part addresses the conditions that must be present if the socio-economic prescriptions are to be successfully realized. These conditions are:

    [1]   political stability and national unity;
    [2]  opening up the economy and the commitment of the economic and political elite to the common good; and
    [3]  a deeply ingrained work ethics among all workers, both in the government and private sectors.
President Fidel V. Ramos firmly believes that there is a basic ingredient missing in our past development efforts. He believes that this missing ingredient has something to do with our need to agree among ourselves, to work as a team, to set aside our differences, and to help one another attain peace and prosperity as a nation. Obviously, this dimension is concerned with culture, with morality, with principles, and with spirituality. Hence, moral regeneration (which should lead us to national unity) logically proceeds the social and economic development prescriptions in any development plan.

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Philippines 2000 as a Movement

As a movement, the Philippines 2000 is not characterized by any fixed and permanent organizational structure. Being simply a movement, it consist of groups and individuals who believe in the core values and objectives of Philippines 2000 and at the same time contribute to their attainment.

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Filipinos Overseas and Philippines 2000

Filipinos, wherever they are, who believe in their hearts that the time to act is now ... that they, too, can contribute, no matter how small or significant ... can respond to the challenge of Philippines 2000. They can help propagate the vision of Philippines 2000 by enjoining their families, friends, neighbours to join this movement by organizing their efforts towards a common vision, so that together, all Filipinos, no matter where they are, can actively take part in their country's pursuit of the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan and the vision of Philippines 2000.

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For the first time in more than a decade, business activity has picked up considerably, thereby sustaining the recovery which started to pick up in 1993.

The recovery of the business sector in 1993 was indicated by the improved earning performance of Philippine-based corporations, brisker retail sales on the domestic market, a sharper increase in foreign trade (despite imports still lagging behind exports), and new job openings which have improved the prospects of the domestic job market.

The greater inflow of foreign investments in 1993 fuelled the turnaround. This has encouraged a good deal of indigenous capital and contributed to a substantial amount of long-term fixed investments in new basic industries and in the production of consumer goods and services.

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Policy Reforms in Pursuit of Growth

 There are good reasons for taking a more positive and optimistic view of the country's economic prospects as the country moves toward realizing the vision of Philippines 2000.

 The main factors that will propel faster economic growth are the structural and economic policy reforms the Ramos administration has initiated and is continuing to implement.

 These include:

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 Migration Estimates

Based on stock estimates [N.B.: Estimates: computation based on the registration figures of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, deployment statistics of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and the data of the Department of Foreign Affairs overseas posts], there are approximately 6.21 million Filipinos overseas as of December 1994. Of this number, 2.56M are overseas contract workers, 1.83M are immigrants, and 1.82M are undocumented.

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 Recognition of Overseas Filipinos
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Among the laws that have been passed by the Philippine Congress (as of June 1995) to address the interests of Filipinos overseas workers and migrants are:

 Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995

Republic Act No. 8042 was signed by President Fidel V. Ramos into law on June 7, 1995. It seeks to institute measures for overseas employment and establish a higher degree of protection for the welfare of migrant workers, their families, and overseas Filipinos. It affirms the State's policy of ensuring full protection of labor, local and overseas, organized and unorganized.

While recognizing the significant contributions of Filipino migrant labor to the national economy through foreign remittances, the law explicitly provides that the State does NOT promote overseas employment as a means to sustain economic growth and achieve national development. Moreover, the State accepts overseas employment as a present-day reality, and requires assurance for the protection of the dignity and the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the Filipino citizens.


 In line with the aim of protecting the rights of Filipino migrant labor, the Act provides for the following programs and services:

Other salient features of the law include the progressive policy of deregulation of recruitment activities and the eventual phase-out of the regulatory functions of the POEA, the granting of incentives to professionals and other highly-skilled Filipinos abroad, overseas Filipino representation in Congress, exemption from travel tax and airport fee, abolition of the repatriation bond, and the creation of a Migrant Workers' Scholarship Fund.
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Inter-country Adoption Act of 1995

Signed into law by President Fidel V. Ramos, Republic Act No. 8043 was enacted to establish the rule governing the inter-country adoption of Filipino children.

The law specifically provides for the creation of an Inter-Country Adoption Board which shall act as the central authority and policy- making body in matters relating to inter-country adoption. The Board will carry out the provisions of the newly enacted law, in consultation and coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the different child-care and placement agencies, as well as non-governmental organizations engaged in child-care and placement activities. This body will be chaired by the Social Welfare and Development Secretary, and composed of six (6) other members appointed by the President of the Philippines.

As a matter of policy, inter-country adoption will only be considered after all possibilities for adoption of the child in his home country shall have been exhausted. In allowing aliens to adopt Filipino children to provide every neglected and abandoned child with a family and the opportunities for growth and development, the newly enacted law has adopted stringent measures to ensure full protection of Filipino children. The maximum number that may be allowed for adoption shall not exceed six hundred (600) a year for the first five (5) years, from the effectivity of the law in 1995.

Among the measures guaranteed by this law are:

The Adopted

Only a legally free child (person below 15 years old, unless sooner emancipated by law, and who has been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to the DSWD) may be subject of inter-country adoption.

 The Adoptor

Any alien or Filipino citizen permanently residing abroad may file an application for inter-country adoption of a Filipino child, provided that he/she:

    [1]  At least 27 years old, and at least sixteen years older than the child to be adopted at the time of the application
            unless the adoptor is the parent by nature of the child to be adopted or the spouse of such parent;
    [2]  If married, the spouse must jointly file for the adoption;
    [3]  Capable of acting and assuming all rights and responsibilities of parental authority under his national laws, and has
            undergone appropriate counselling from an accredited counsellor in his/her country;
    [4]  Has not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude;
    [5]  Eligible to adopt under his/her national law;
    [6]  In a position to provide the proper care and support, and give the necessary moral values and example to his
            children, including the child to be adopted;
    [7]  Agrees to uphold the basic rights of the child as embodied under Philippine laws, the U.N. Convention on the Rights
            of the Child, and to abide by the rules and regulations issued to implement the provisions of this Act;
    [8]  Comes from a country with which the Philippines has diplomatic relations and whose government maintains a similarly
            authorized and accredited agency, and that adoption is allowed under his/her country; and
    [9]  Possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided in the Act and in other applicable
            Philippine Laws.
Persons not eligible to adopt under Article 184 of the Family Code of the Philippines include the following:
    [1]  The guardian with respect to the ward prior to the approval of the final accounts rendered upon the termination of their
            guardianship relation;
    [2]  Any person who has been convicted of a crime involving moral terpitude;
    [3]  An alien, except:
      [a]  A former citizen who seeks to adopt a relative by consanguinity;
      [b]  One who seeks to adopt a legitimate child of his or her Filipino spouse; or
      [c]  One who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his or her spouse a relative by consanguinity of the latter.
Aliens not included in the foregoing exceptions may adopt Filipino children in accordance with the Inter-Country Adoption Act.
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Land Ownership by Filipinos Overseas

There are various considerations in the ownership of private lands in the Philippines by Filipinos who have become naturalized citizens of other countries.

As provided for in Batas Pambansa blg. 185, the transfer (acquisition through voluntary and involuntary sale, devise or donation) of such land to Filipinos, who have renounced their citizenship, must be for residential purposes only.

Conditions and Limitations

[1]  The transferee must not use the lands acquired for any purpose other than for his residence.
[2]  The transferee is entitled to acquire and own private land up to a maximum area of one thousand (1,000)
        square meters in the case of urban land, or one (1) hectare in the case of rural land.
[3]  For married couples, any one or both of them may avail of the said privilege, provided that if both avail of the
        same, the area of land acquired shall not exceed the allowed maximum limit.
[4]  In case the transferee already owns urban or rural lands for residential purpose, he may still be entitled to be a
        transferee of additional urban or rural lands, provided that the total land area owned by him will not exceed
        the allowed maximum limit.
[5]  The transferee may acquire not more than two (2) lots, which may be situated in different municipalities or cities
        throughout the Philippines, provided that the total areas of the two (2) shall not exceed the allowed maximum
[6]  A transferee who has already acquired the maximum area of urban land is already disqualified from acquiring
        the rural land, and vice versa.
Registration Requirements

In addition to the requirements provided for in other laws for the registration of titles to lands, the transferee will have to submit to the Register of Deeds of the province or city, where the property is located, a sworn statement showing the following information: date and place of birth; names and addresses of parents, of spouse and children; area, location, and mode of acquisition of landholding in the Philippines, if any; intention to reside permanently in the Philippines; date he lost his Philippine citizenship; and country which he is presently a citizen.


A transferee who violates the provisions of BP Blg. 185 through any misrepresentation in his sworn declaration, fraudulent acquisition of the landholdings, and failure to reside permanently in the land acquired within two (2) years from the date of acquisition, except when such failure is caused by force majeure, shall be penalized by:

[1]  Forfeiture of such lands and the improvements thereon in favor of the National Government through escheat
        proceedings to be initiated by the Solicitor General or his representatives;
[2]  Liability to prosecution under the applicable provision of he revised Penal Code and shall be subject to
        deportation proceedings;
[3]  Will forever be barred from availing of the privilege granted under Batas Pambansa Blg. 185.
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Section 14, Article 11 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the State recognizes the fundamental role of women in nation-building, and ensures the fundamental equality before the law of women and men.
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 Government Measures to Advance the Cause of Filipino Women

[1]  Department Order 15-89, issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, requires all Filipino fiancees and spouses of foreign nationals to attend the CFO's guidance and counselling session, as a pre-requisite to the issuance of passports.

In 1994, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Roberto R. Romulo reaffirmed this directive by issuing DFA Order 28-94, to ensure the sustained implementation of guidance and counselling program for passport applicants going abroad as fiancees/spouses of foreign nationals, and the extension of such service in the provinces as well.

[2]  Five-Year Development Plan for Women, detailing the roles and involvement of women in nation-building.

[3]  The New Family Code, passed through Executive Order No. 227, was adopted to eliminate the discriminatory provisions to women in the Civil Code of the Philippines.  Article 26 of this Code provides, "where marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall likewise have the capacity to marry under Philippine law".

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Legislative Measures and the Protection of Women's Rights

[1]  Creation of the Senate Committee on Women and Family Relations
[2]  Passage of Republic Act No. 7192, otherwise known as the "Women in Nation-Building" Act, promotes women as full
        and equal partner of men in various facets of development and nation-building
[3]  Enactment of Republic Act No. 6725, prohibiting discrimination against women with respect to the terms and
        conditions of employment
[4]  Enactment of Republic Act No. 6955, declaring unlawful the practice of matching Filipino women for marriage to
        foreign nationals on a mail-order bride basis and other similar practices
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Other Services

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas, in coordination with other government and non-government agencies, has intensified its community education program in the various areas of the country, giving special attention to women, to provide information and address the realities involved in migration and inter-marriages.

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 Passport Application

Following are the list of requirements for individuals who are applying for passports with the Department of Affairs (DFA):

Tourists, Immigrants or Finance(e)s

    [1]  Birth Certificate
    [2]  Visa approval or visa checklist, if immigrant or finance/es (For finance/es or spouses of foreign nationals, a certificate
            of attendance to the guidance and counselling session, issued by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO),
            must be submitted together with certificate of legal capacity or marriage contract duly stamped or authenticated by
            the foreign embassy or consulate concerned.)
    [3]  Two (2) passport pictures (Applicants over 7 years old must wear clothes with collar and sleeves. Middle East
            countries do not allow sleeveless dress for women and long hair for men).
    [1]  Birth certificate
    [2]  Personal appearance and interview
    [3]  Valid PEC Artists Accreditation Certificate (blue card)
    [4]  Clearance from the Electronic Data Processing Section (EDP), Passport Division
Contract Workers The DFA requires additional documents in the following circumstances:
    Absence of Birth Certificate

    [1]  Certificate of non-availability of birth record from the Local Civil Registrar concerned
    [2]  Voter's affidavit or baptismal certificate or certificate of non-availability of baptismal records from the Church
    [3]  Joint birth affidavit of two (2) disinterested persons who know the circumstances of the applicant's birth

    Late Registration of Birth
    [1]  Joint birth affidavit of two (2) disinterested persons who know the circumstances of the applicant's birth
    [2]  Baptismal certificate or voter's affidavit or voter's ID
    [3]  Authentication of birth certificate at the National Statistics Office (NSO)

Married Woman Lost Passport

If passport is still valid, Police Report and Affidavit of Loss, duly received by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Immigration, and the Records Section of the Office of Consular Services. Fifteen (15) day waiting period is necessary unless waived by competent authorities.

If passport has expired, Affidavit of Loss, duly received by the Records Section of the Office of Consular Services. If lost abroad, submit travel document.

Adopted Children

    [1]  Birth certificate before adoption
    [2]  Birth certificate after adoption
    [3]  Court order on adoption
    [4]  DSWD clearance for minors below 18 years old
Discrepancy in Name or Date of Birth
    [1]  Affidavit of discrepancy
    [2]  School record (in case of discrepancy in name)
    [3]  Baptismal certificate or voter's affidavit (in case of discrepancy in date of birth)
Minors [below 18 years old]
    [1]  Notarized affidavit of support and consent of both parents;
    [2]  Photocopy of parent's valid passport
    [3]  DSWD clearance is required when the minor is:
      [a]  unaccompanied by any of the parents
      [b]  travelling with adoptive parents (Filipino or foreign)
      [c]  travelling alone for future adoption by relatives living abroad
Government Employee/Official
    [1]  Travel authority from the Head of Office or Department
    [2]  Copy of approved Leave of Absence to spend vacation abroad
    [3]  If retired, retirement papers
Female Tourists [16-29 years old] Applicants with Foreign Sounding Names

Applicants with foreign sounding names or with citizenship problems shall be referred to the Citizenship Evaluation Committee (CEC) of the DFA, except:

Renewal of Passport

 For renewal of passport, submit photocopies of the first 3 pages of the old passport for cancellation.

NOTE: Applications may also be lodged by an overseas Filipino with the Philippine Embassy or Consulate. For renewal of passports, applicants are required to submit/present their old passports. Other details may be obtained from the Philippine Embassy/Consulate.

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Travel Tax

Pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1183, Filipinos and other nationals travelling outside the country are required to pay travel tax before their departure.

Revenues collected are primarily used to conserve the country's dollar resources, provide adequate funds for government programs, and assist in the tax collection process.


Persons required to pay the travel tax include:

    [1]  Citizens of the Philippines
    [2]  Permanent resident aliens
    [3]  Non-resident aliens who have stayed in the Philippines for more than one (1) year
Non-immigrant aliens, who have not stayed in the Philippines for more than one (1) year, are NOT covered by the Travel Tax.


The following are exempted from paying the travel tax, but are required to get the appropriate exemption certificates from the Philippine Tourism Authority:

    [1]  Filipino citizens who are residents of foreign countries
    [2]  Filipino overseas contract workers
    [3]  Children who are below two (2) years old
Also exempted are diplomatic representatives, United Nations employees, US military personnel, international carrier crew, foreign service personnel, Philippine government employees, foreign funded trips, bona fide students on scholarships and personnel of multi-national companies.

Travel tax exemptions/reduced tax certificates can be obtained from the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) upon presentation of the following documents:

    [1]  Passport
    [2]  Proof of permanent residency abroad
    [3]  Photocopy of Philippine Income Tax return and Proof of paid income tax for preceding year
    [4]  Certificate of unemployment from the Philippine Embassy or consulate, in the case of Filipinos who are not employed
Travel Tax Rates
    [1]  P2,700 for first class passage
    [2]  P1,620 for economy class passage
    [3]  P1,350 reduced rates for children, 2 to 12 years old, on first class passage
    [4]  P810 reduced rates for children, 2 to 12 years old, on economy class passage
    [5]  P400 reduced rates for dependents of contract workers on first class passage
    [6]  P300 reduced rates for dependents of contract workers on economy class passage
Note: Travel tax exemption will not be granted if the Filipino's immigrant status has lapsed or if he has stayed in the Philippines for more than one (1) year, whichever comes first.

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Assistance-to-Nationals Task Force

The Assistance-to-Nationals (ATN) Task Force was created on April 6, 1995 under the mandate of Administrative Order No. 182.

The ATN Task Force has the following functions:

    [1]  Develop and implement an integrated program of government that will address the various concerns and problems
            resulting from migration;
    [2]  Develop a mechanism to ensure effective coordination among various agencies of government to provide solutions
            to illegal recruitment and exploitation of highly vulnerable groups of migrants;
    [3]  Develop and implement a continuing information and community education program to ensure the effective
            dissemination of information related to migration;
    [4]  Establish policies for the effective database management on migration statistics and assistance-to-nationals cases;
    [5]  Review and develop policies to promote the welfare and interests of Filipino migrants; and
    [6]  Coordinate with the private sector and international organizations, through the appropriate agencies of the government, with the view of establishing a support network for Filipino nationals.
The Inter-agency Committee is jointly headed by of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The other members of the ATN Task Force are the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers' Welfare Administration (OWWA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and four (4) private sector representatives. The CFO is the Secretariat for the ATN Task Force.

Five (5) Technical Working Groups have been created to carry out the functions of the ATN Task Force. These are: Information and Management; Communication and Advocacy; Crisis Management and Security; Strategic Planning; and Policy, Program and Research.

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Tax Obligations of Filipinos Overseas

It is the duty of all Filipinos citizens who are residents abroad and currently earning their incomes in foreign countries to file their income tax returns and pay the tax due to the Philippine government.

The non-resident citizen's income tax return (Form 1701-C) may be filed with the Philippine Embassy or Consulate nearest his residence or directly to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue at the BIR Bldg., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines.

Mode of Payment

Payment of taxes may be made through the following modes:


The Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue computes taxable income of Filipino citizens overseas based on their income after the following deductions shall have been made:

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Remittance from Filipinos Overseas

Remittance from Filipinos overseas contribute to the dollar reserves of the country. Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show that remittances from Filipinos overseas through the banking system totalled US$2.9 billion in 1994. Ranked as top five (5) countries where overseas remittance come from are: U.S.A., Saudi Arabia, Hongkong, Japan, and Germany.

Some estimates have been made by other sectors indicating that total remittances, including those made through the informal channels, could reach US$4-US6 billion.

Remittance Procedures

Local financial institutions have introduced different modes of remitting money and strengthening relationship with other international bank to protect and facilitate the remittance of Filipinos overseas.

To avoid problems in remitting money, the following procedures are suggested:

      [a]  Telegraphic or Telex Transfer
      [b]  Mail Transfer or Mail Payment Order
      [c]  Bank Draft or Bank Transfer
    [2]  Print clearly and correctly on the remittance application form the following information regarding the beneficiary:
      [a]  Full name (Not nickname or alias)
      [b]  Receiving Bank or branch in the Philippines
      [c]  Bank account number, if any
      [d]  Complete Philippine address and telephone number, if any
    [3]  Always keep the remitter's copy of the remittances form to serve as official receipt and send a photo-copy to the beneficiary as this will be helpful in claiming money from the bank.
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Donations from Overseas Filipinos

 General Guidelines

Pursuant to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the following are the general guidelines affecting the entry of donations from overseas:

    [1]  Donated items that may be allowed duty-free entry are food, medicines, and other relief goods; books and educational materials; essential machineries/equipment; and consumer goods and other articles subject to certain conditions. Used clothes are considered regulated or restricted items.
    [2]  Overseas donations may be allowed duty-free entry upon certification by appropriate Philippine Government agencies, and if these are consigned to government agencies or DSWD accredited organizations. Certification are required from agencies such as: DSWD, Department of Health, NEDA, and Department of Finance.

    The documents required prior to issuance of duty-free certification by government agencies concerned are the following:

      [a]  Letter request from the recipient for duty-free certification;
      [b]  Deed of acceptance and distribution plan of the recipient;
      [c]  Deed of donations duly authenticated by the Philippine Embassies/Consulates;
      [d]  Pro-forma or commercial invoice and packing list/inventory of donated items;
      [e]  Shipping documents (bill of lading/airway bill); and
      [f]  Other documents depending on the nature of donated articles.

       NOTE: The request of duty-free certification should be filed before the shipment of the donation to allow sufficient time for processing.


    [3]  Donated goods may only be exempted from import duties, BUT NOT from the payment of Value Added Tax (VAT) which is 10% of total landed cost as determined by the Bureau of Customs. ONLY BOOK DONATIONS ARE EXEMPTED FROM THE PAYMENT OF VAT.
    [4]  The recipient or the donor (depending upon the arrangement made between the parties concerned) shall shoulder the necessary expenses incurred in the processing, handling, and release of the donated shipment from the port of entry.
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 The "Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino" or LINKAPIL is a program developed and implemented by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) in an effort to harness the vast potentials of Filipino overseas. LINKAPIL consists of a mechanism to transfer resources from Filipino overseas to small-scale but high impact projects in the country, particularly in the following sectors: Industry and Agribusiness, Infrastructure, Education and Health.

 Operational Framework

    Serves as the primary link between Filipino associations overseas and the local beneficiaries. Identifies and recommends projects for support, as well as conducts monitoring and evaluation of the project.
    [2]  Filipino Associations Overseas (as donors)

    Coordinate with the CFO in sourcing and providing financial and material resources to identified local beneficiaries in the Philippines.
    [3]  Government Instrumentalities

    Assist in the identification and formulation of project modules, implement the projects in terms of technical assistance and training, as well as facilitate the transfer and release of material donations.
    [4]  Non-Government Organizations

    Receive donations and/or assistance from Filipinos overseas. Administer the application or distribution of resources.

    [5]  Beneficiary

     Identifies needs in their locality. As a counterpart effort, contributes free labor and manpower skills and ascertains the maintenance and viability of the project.

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Exports Thru Expats

The increasing global nature of the markets and the shift of world trading from the Atlantic to the Pacific call for a vigorous export strategy to ensure a niche for Philippine goods and services in the Pacific Century.

In North America alone, an estimated two million Filipino immigrants comprise one of the biggest ethnic groups in that region. This figure, which can be translated into a formidable sales force of thousands, can be organized into a score of business chambers given their strategic locations in the world's biggest consumer market and with investment capital waiting to be tapped.

The Target: A Network of Filipino Entrepreneurs Abroad

With proper training and encouragement, the entrepreneurial talents of expatriate Filipinos can be developed. Immigrants who have "got it made" can put to good use some of their savings or investment money in business opportunities that capitalize on the natural resources of the Philippines and its highly skilled craftsmen.

They can thereafter be encouraged to form business chambers in their cities so that they can link up with their Philippine counterparts in the private and the public sector.

The Program

The Exports Thru Expats Training Seminar Series was conceived to motivate Filipino expatriates in promoting Philippine traditional products and services and in investing in Philippine export industries.

The seminars intend to equip qualified and pre-selected expatriates with the basic skills of entrepreneurship through a comprehensive program of lectures and discussions given by topnotch resource speakers. Topics include trade and investment policies of the Philippines, export and import procedures, creative financing schemes, strategic planning (market research and marketing), and highlights of bilateral trade relations.

Seminar materials allow fingertip access to necessary information on services, product profiles, directories, trade calendars, and lists of projects which require investments.

These workshops will be held periodically in key cities around the world where there are concentrations of Filipino expatriates and the potential for trade and investment exists.

Overseas Filipinos visiting the Philippines are provided assistance in exploring trade and investment opportunities specially in export oriented enterprises.

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Doing Business in the Philippines

This section provides a general guide for investors intending to do business in the Philippines.

An investor needs only to undertake the applicable combination of activities. Some can be done simultaneously. Specific requirements may vary depending on several factors like foreign equity participation, nature of business, locations, etc.

Getting Started

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 Investment Incentives under the Omnibus Investment Act of 1987

Under Book I of Executive Order No. 226, otherwise known as the Omnibus Investment Act of 1987, an investor may enjoy certain benefits and incentives, provided that he invests in preferred areas of investment found in the current Investment Priorities Plan (IPP).

 An enterprise may still be entitled to incentives even if the activity is not listed in the IPP as long as:

The BOI, in certain instances as indicated in the IPP, may completely or partially limit the incentives available to export products.

Tax Exemptions and Concessions

 BOI-registered enterprises are given a number of incentives in the form of tax exemptions and concessions. More specifically:

    [1]  Income tax holiday
    [2]  Tax and duty exemptions on imported capital equipment and its accompanying spare parts
    [3]  Tax credit on domestic capital equipment
    [4]  Tax credit for taxes and duties on raw materials used in the manufacture, processing, and production of export
    [5]  Additional deduction for labor expense
    [6]  Tax and duty-free importation of breeding stocks and genetic materials
    [7]  Tax credit on domestic breeding stocks and genetic materials
    [8]  Simplification of customs procedures
    [9]  Unrestricted use of consigned equipment
    [10]  Employment of foreign nationals
    [11]  Tax credit for taxes and duties on raw materials, supplies and semi-manufactured products used in the manufacture
            of export products and forming part thereof
    [12]  Access to bonded manufacturing/trading warehouse system
    [13]  Exemption from wharfage dues and any export tax, duties, import and fees
    [14]  Tax and duty exemption of imported spare parts and supplies
Incentives under the Export Development Act (EDA)

 This applies to companies which earn at least 50% of its total revenues from export.

    [1]  Incentives from the Board of Investments/Exports Processing Zone Authority/Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority/Clark
            Development Authority if qualified to register with concerned agencies
    [2]  Exemption from P.D. 1853 (advance payment of customs duties)
    [3]  Zero percent duty on imported machinery and equipment and accompanying spare parts until 1997
    [4]  Tax credit on imported raw materials for a period of five years
    [5]  Tax credit for increase in current year
      [a]  Export Revenue
      [b]  First 5% increase entitled to 2.5% credit
      [c]  Next 5% increase entitled to 5.0% credit
      [d]  Next 5% increase entitled to 7.5% credit
      [e]  In excess of 15% entitled to 10% credit
    [6]  Tax credit of 25% on duties of local raw materials, capital equipment and/or spare parts for a period of 3 years, and
            extendable for another 3 years
Other Non-Fiscal Incentives

The Export Processing Zone Authority extends assistance on major manpower training of laborers to firms within the zones. The National Manpower and Youth Council (NMYC) of the Department of Labor also conducts manpower training programs.

Additional incentives for BOI-registered enterprises locating in less-developed areas (whether proposed or investing in ventures geared for expansion), include:

    [1]  Same set of incentives given to pioneer registered enterprises;
    [2]  A 100% deduction from its taxable income representing the necessary and major infrastructure it may have
            undertaken in the course of its operation; and
    [3]  An additional deduction from taxable income of 100% of the wages corresponding to the increment in the number of
            direct labor for skilled and unskilled workers in the year of availment as against the previous year.
Filing of Investment Application (with incentives)

If an investor wishes to avail of incentives, and the chosen activity is found in the IPP or for export, he can simultaneously file his application for incentives with the BOI and the certificate of registration with the SEC or the BTRCP. These offices are located in the following addresses:

Locating in the Export Processing Zone

 If you will locate in any of the four EPZs in the country, 100% foreign ownership is allowed. However, total production of firms situated inside these zones must be entirely for export. In certain instances, and subject to the approval of the EPZA, thirty (30) percent of production may be sold in the domestic market.

Investors locating in any of the four (4) export processing zones in the country must register with the:

The four (4) export processing zones in the country are:
    [1]  Bataan Export Processing Zone (BEPZ)
            Mariveles, Bataan
    [2]  Baguio City Export Processing Zone (BCEPZ)
            Loakan Road, Baguio City
    [3]  Mactan Export Processing Zone (MEPZ)
            Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan Cebu
    [4]  Cavite Export Processing Zone (CEPZ)
            Rosario, Cavite
Aside from these areas, some privately-owned industrial estates have been designated as Special Export Processing Zones. This in line with government's industrialization effort to become a world-class investment center in the future.

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Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) for 1995

In line with the vision of the Philippines 2000 under the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP), the main areas of concern of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are in industry and market expansion, countryside development, and consumer welfare.

 These concerns are reflected in the goals of the 1995 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP), to wit:

    [1]  Enhance the global competitiveness of Philippine products and services, thus opening global markets;
    [2]  Raise and sustain productivity in the economy, especially in agriculture and fishery;
    [3]  Improve and increase infrastructure and other facilities necessary for the speedy movement of goods and services;
    [4]  Promote a well-managed environment and the sustainable development of natural resources;
    [5]  Disperse industry from heavily congested areas; and
    [6]  Alleviate poverty, especially in the countryside.
Pioneer Areas of Investments

 Pioneer activities listed in the IPP maybe owned 100% by foreign nationals, subject to constitutional or statutory limitations.

 A Pioneer (P) status is given to activities that:

Pioneer enterprises shall be entitled to a tax holiday (ITH) for a period of six (6) years from the start of commercial operations.

 Pioneer enterprises are required to attain Filipino status (60% Filipino) within 30 yearsor such longer period as the BOI may determine. Exempted are enterprises whose production is 100% geared for exports.

 Priority Investment Areas

  1. Export activities
  2. Agriculture, food, and forestry-based industries
  3. Basic Industries, including: iron and steel (P), cement (P), and mining
  4. Engineering industries
  5. Infrastructure and services, including: power generation (P/NP), transport operations (NP)
  6. Health products and services, including: herbal medicines (P), diagnostic centers (NP)
  7. Modernization and rehabilitation programs
  8. Environmental conservation and protection, including: forest plantations/farms (NP), integrated waste management to service domestic industries (P)
  9. Research and development activities (Science and Technology Oriented) (P)
Additional Priority Investment Areas are available in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)

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Foreign Investments Act of 1991

Republic Act No. 7042, otherwise known as the Foreign Investments Act of 1991, aims to promote foreign investments and prescribes the procedures for registering enterprises doing business in the Philippines.


The Act covers all investment areas or economic activities except banking and other financial institutions which are governed and regulated by the General Banking Act and other laws under the supervision of the Central Bank of the Philippines.

The coverage for restrictions pertains to foreign equity participation only. All other regulations governing foreign investments remain in force.


      [a]  The investment is in a domestic market enterprise in areas outside the Foreign Investment Negative List
      [b]  The investment is an export enterprise whose products and services do not fall within the Lists A and B of the
    As required by existing law, the country or state of the applicant must also allow Filipino citizens and corporations to do business therein.
    [2]  Non-Philippine nationals qualified to do business as stated in No. 1 in this Section, but who will engage in more than one investment area, one or more of which is included in the FINL, may be registered under the Act. However, said non-Philippine national shall not be allowed to engage in the investment areas which are in the FINL.
    [3]  Existing enterprises shall be allowed to increase the percentage share on the foreign equity participation beyond current equity holdings only if their existing investment area is not in the FINL. Similarly, existing enterprises engaged in more than one (1) investment area shall be allowed to increase percentage of foreign equity participation if none of the investment areas they engaged in is in the FINL.

    Existing foreign corporations shall be allowed to increase capital even if their existing investment is in the FINL.

    Transfer of ownership from one foreign company to another shall be allowed even if the enterprise is engaged in an area in the FINL as long as there is no increase in the percentage share of foreign equity.

    Note: Foreign investment Negative List (FINL) is a list of areas of economic activity whose foreign ownership is limited to a maximum of 40% of the outstanding capital stock, in case of a corporation, or capital, in case of a partnership.

Allowable Foreign Equity Participation
     Up to 100%, provided that the products and services of such enterprises do not fall within Lists A and B of the FINL.
    [2]  Domestic Market Enterprises

     Up to 100%, unless such participation is prohibited or limited by existing laws or FINL.


Under the Regular Investment Negative List are (3) component lists: A, B and C, which contain areas of economic activities reserved for Philippine nationals.

    [1]  List A: foreign ownership is limited by mandate of the constitution and specific laws. It defines areas where no foreign
            equity is allowed, and those where up to 25%, 30%, 40% foreign equity is allowed.
    [2]  List B: foreign ownership is limited for reasons of security, defense, risk to health and morals and protection of local
            small and medium scale enterprises. It defines areas where foreign equity is allowed up to 40%.
    [3]  List C: Contains investment areas in which existing enterprises already adequately served the needs of the economy
            and the consumers and in which foreign investment need not be encouraged further.
Areas not in the negative list of the Foreign Investment Act of 1991 can be 100% owned.

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Special Investors Resident Visa

Qualification Requirements

Any alien, except national from South Africa, Northern Korea, and Cambodia and such other countries that may be classified restricted in the future, and who meet the following qualifications may be issued the Special Investors Resident Visa (SIRV), provided:

    [1]  He has not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude;
    [2]  He has not been afflicted with any loathsome, dangerous or contagious disease;
    [3]  He has not been institutionalized for any mental disorder or disability; and
    [4]  He is willing and able to invest US$75,000 in the Philippines.

The holder of a Special Investor's Residence Visa shall be entitled to reside in the Philippines for an indefinite period while his investments exist. He is entitled to import used household goods and personal effects tax and duty-free as an alien coming to settle in the Philippines for the first time.

The investor's spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age who are joining him in the Philippines may also be issued the same visa.

Areas of Investment

 Holders of this visa can invest in any project, except: retail trade, rural bank and mass media. Percentage of foreign investment will be limited by the provision of applicable laws, rules, and regulations depending on the area of activity.

Application for Visa

Investors may apply at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate Office in the home country or place of resident of applicant. If the interested investor is already in the Philippines, he may file the application for issuance of SIRV with the One Stop Action Center (OSAC) located at the Ground Floor of the Board of Investments, 385 Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City, Metro Manila.

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Among the policies of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) with regards returning Filipino overseas to the Philippines are the following:

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Non-quota Immigrant

Pursuant to Republic Act 4376, which is being implemented by the BI, a natural born citizen of the Philippines who has become a naturalized citizen of another country and is returning for permanent residence in the Philippines with his spouse and minor unmarried children, shall be considered a Non-Quota Immigrant.

The admission of returning former Philippine citizens as a Non-Quota Immigrant is normally granted at the Philippine Embassies and Consulates.

Those who are already in the Philippines, however, may be permitted to apply for a change of status. Application, in this case, may be lodged with the BI office at Intramuros, Manila.

 Requirements for Change of Status

    [1]  Birth certificate of applicant
    [2]  Certificate of naturalization in foreign country
    [3]  True copy of marriage contract
    [4]  Birth certificate(s) of unmarried children
    [5]  Affidavit stating that the applicant intends to reside in the Philippines, with supporting documents such as: land titles and other evidence of ownership of substantial assets, birth certificates, and other evidences of relationship to Philippines residents, certificate of admission to the practice of profession, investment in business enterprise in the Philippines, and contract employment.

    Waiting time for processing is three (3) months or less. Fees to be collected is about P1,530 for an individual over 16 years of age.

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Student Visa

An alien admitted into the Philippines under any visa category may apply at the Bureau of Immigration for change/conversion of admission status from an alien to that of a student under Section 9(f) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended pursuant to E.O. No. 188.

Documentary Requirements

The student shall submit the following documentary requirements to the school's designated Liaison Officer who will handcarry the documents together with an endorsement letter, signed by school's registrar and stamped with school's dry seal, to the Bureau of Immigration:

Temporary Residence

The alien shall be granted an initial one (1) year authorized stay as a student.

The said stay of one (1) year stay as student may be extended by the Bureau of Immigrationby semester subject to other specific requirement.


The principals, spouses and unmarried dependent children below 21 years of age of thefollowing categories as aliens shall not be required to secure student visa and special study permit:

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Special Study Permit

Under Philippine Immigration Laws, a non-immigrant, having sufficient means for his education and support in the Philippines, who is at least 18 years old, and who seeks to enter the country temporarily and solely for the purpose of taking up a course of study higher than High School at a university, seminary, academy, college or school approved for such alien students by the Commissioner of Immigration, may be issued a Student Visa.

A foreign national who may not otherwise qualify as a student may nonetheless be granted a special study permit (SSP) subject to the guidelines on qualification and other requirements.


The following foreign nationals, upon filing of proper application, may be granted an SSP:

    [2]  A foreign national and his dependent spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 years old, if any, during the pendency of their applications for a visa. The SSP granted pursuant to this paragraph shall be valid only during the pendency of the application.
    [3]  A temporary visitor taking up short term courses whose enrollment does not require approval by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, like languages and computer science.
The application for an SSP shall be filed with the Law and Investigation Division of the BI, which shall assign to each application, a control number.

For more information, please contact:

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Waiver of Exclusion Ground

The issuance of the "Waiver of Exclusion Ground" is pursuant to Section 29(a)(12) of Commonwealth Act No. 613, otherwise known as the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940. Under this particular section of sad law, alien minors travelling unaccompanied by a parent are excludable from entry into the Philippines, unless a Waiver of Exclusion Ground (WEG) is first secured from the Commissioner of Immigration.

The Bureau of Immigration, through its Office Memorandum Order No. LIV-95-031 dated 19 July 1995, provided for the new requirements in the application for Waiver of Exclusion Ground in behalf of minors under 15 years of age travelling to the Philippine unaccompanied by a parent. These are:

All applications for WEG shall be filed with the Office of the Commissioner at least five (5) days before the arrival of the minor.

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Overseas Filipino arrivals or "balikbayans" constituted 10.11% of the total visitor traffic to the Philippines in 1994.

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The program is fun-filled and experiential approach to learning about the Filipino way of life offered to children of Filipino immigrants. The program, developed by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, is conducted in the Philippines and provides various opportunities for participants to appreciate their roots and country of origin.


Program Features

The Lakbay-Aral is an immersion program in Philippine studies geared at allowing participants to experience and appreciate Filipino socio-cultural dynamics and environments through field tours combined with on-site sessions, conducted in historical landmarks and scenic spots in Luzon.

It also provides opportunities for the participants to interact with other Filipino students, key government officials, and the Filipino community.

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Bring Home a Friend

This 3-year promotional program of the Department of Tourism (DOT) seeks to encourage all Filipinos residing locally or abroad, as well as expats living in the Philippines, to help promote tourism by inviting their friends overseas, to come and visit the Philippines in exchange for very attractive raffle prizes for the sponsor and the invitees.


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Balikbayan Program

 Republic Act 6768 was enacted on November 3, 1989, instituting a "Balikbayan" Program for the Philippines, and providing certain privileges and benefits to returning Filipino workers, former Filipino citizens and his family, and other Filipino citizens who have been out of the country for more than one (1) year.


    [1]  Tax and duty-free custom-cleared shopping privilege up to U.S. $ 1,000 in Philippine duty-free shops;
    [2]  Visa-free entry for one year;
    [3]  Travel tax exemptions;
    [4]  Especially designated reception areas at authorized ports of entry for expeditious processing of documents.
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Balikbayan Plus Card

With this card, returning Filipinos can enjoy more benefits such as discounts in shopping establishments, restaurants, bank remittance transaction charges, hotel room rates, transport fares, and even overseas calls.


The Plus Card is issued, free of charge, to legitimate and certified balikbayans, as evidenced by required documents.

      [a]  Certificate of Employment by foreign employer
      [b]  Certificate of Employment by Philippine Embassy or consulates
      [c]  Prior year's income tax return
      [d]  Contract worker stamp on passport
      [e]  Seaman's service record book
    [2]  Filipino citizens and their families who have been naturalized, must present their passport or any of the following:
      [a]  Old Philippine passport
      [b]  Foreign naturalization papers
      [c]  Certification from adopted country
      [a]  Birth certificate, in case of children
      [b]  Marriage certificate, in case of the spouse
      [c]  Adoption papers, in case of the legally-adopted children
    [4]  Filipinos who have been continuously out of the country for at least one (1) year will need to show their Philippine passport indicating date of last departure.

    Plus Card application forms are available at the Department of Tourism and other authorized outlets in the Philippines.

    The "Balikbayan" Plus Card will be sent to the respective card owners at their local addresses or places of employment.

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Kabuhayan 2000: Sa Pagbabalik ng Pinoy

"Kabuhayan 2000: Sa Pagbabalik ng Pinoy" involves the establishment of the best possible mechanisms for the reintegration of returning overseas contract workers (OCWs) with the endview of facilitating sustained income, either thru enterprises formation, investment of savings, and better wage employment. It is a network of programs and services of various agencies under the coordination of the Department of Labor and Employment.


All OCWs and their dependents are qualified to avail of the services under the program.

Program Features

    One major component of the Kabuhayan 2000 is the livelihood service which aims to provide an alternative source of income for the returning OCWs through the provision of local economic and productive endeavors.
    [2]  Investments

    For workers who have investible savings, Kabuhayan 2000 can provide viable investment opportunities. The offices cooperating under the program present various facilities which provide options for OCWs to increase their capital. The workers may purchase from the various selections of real estate properties, trust funds, stocks, securities and/or bonds with high growth potentials.
    [3]  Training and Retraining

    The Kabuhayan 2000 recognizes the need for human resource development. Services included in the program include the provision of skills, knowledge, and attitude training for the OCWs.

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Kabuhayan Shopping

The Kabuhayan Shopping program of the Duty Free Philippines supports the provision of livelihood opportunities for OCWs. Through this program, OCWs shall be entitled to purchase livelihood tools and equipment at the Kabuhayan Shopping Section. These items shall be tax and duty free.

For a minimum purchase of US$200, the OCWs may avail of the benefit package which includes among others free training through other training agencies such as NMYC, TLRC, and CMDF. Financing assistance shall be an additional component for those who require low interest loans.

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Retirement Program

The Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) is implementing a retirement program for foreigners and overseas Filipinos. This involves the issuance of a Special Resident Retiree's Visa (SRRV).

Qualified Applicants

Qualified to avail of the SRRV are the following:

    [2]  Overseas Filipinos who are immigrants or under a visa category, allowing them legal stay abroad and have resided
            therein continuously for at least seven (7) years prior to their application for enrollment in the program and should
            not have stayed a maximum of sixty (60) days in a year in the Philippines.
Deposit Requirements  
Benefits under the Retirement Program
    [1]  Issuance of a permanent, non-immigrant status with a multiple entry privileges through a special visa called Special
            Resident Retiree's Visa (SRRV);
    [2]  Exemption from customs duties and taxes for the importation of $7,000 worth of personal effects, appliances and
            household furniture;
    [3]  Exemption from Exit and Re-entry permits;
    [4]  Exemption from payment of travel tax, provided that the retiree has not stayed in the Philippines for more than one
            year from the date of his last entry into the country;
    [5]  Conversion of the requisite deposit into active investments, including purchase of condominium unit;
    [6]  Tax-free interest on the foreign currency deposit, and payable to the retiree in Philippine Peso;
    [7]  Foreign currency deposit can be converted into peso deposit, but interest is subject to withholding tax;
    [8]  Guaranteed repatriation of request deposit including invested profits, capital gains and dividends accrued from
            investments, upon compliance with Central Bank rules and regulations.
For more information write or call:

Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA)
2/f, First Bank Bldg.
371 Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City
Tel. nos: 895-09-29/98/40/82
Fax No. (632) 817-40-41

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Pag-IBIG Fund for Filipino Overseas Workers (FiLOW) Program

The Pag-IBIG Fund

Pag-IBIG Fund is a nationwide savings fund established on December 14, 1980 through Presidential Decree No. 1752. Today, Pag-IBIG is one of the strongest financial institutions in the country with assets of over P21 billion. Active membership stands at 1.3 million nationwide. Total membership base is 2.1 million.

The Pag-IBIG FiLOW Program

The Pag-IBIG Filipino Overseas Worker (Filow) Program aims to provide Filipino overseas workers/immigrants the opportunity to save for their future, while giving them the chance to avail of a housing loan. Maximum loanable amount is P500,000, with interest rates at 9%-17% per annum, depending on the loan package.

Membership Requirements

The FiLOW Program is open to all Filipino overseas workers with valid working visas or employment contracts. Filipino immigrants who are Pag-IBIG members, however, may opt to register under the FiLOW Program or simply maintain their membership.

Schedule of Contributions Per Income Bracket

Benefits on Savings
    [1]  Fixed dividend earnings of 3% per annum for dollar savings and 7.5% per annum for peso savings
    [2]  Tax-free dividend earnings
    [3]  Savings guaranteed by the Philippine Government
    [4]  Portability, since savings will remain under the same name even after change of employers
The total savings under the program may be withdrawn at the end of 5 to 10 years depending on the option stated during the registration. Withdrawal of savings before maturity shall be allowed in cases of death, total disability, insanity, separation from service by reason of health, and permanent departure from country.

Housing Loan Requirements

Loans can be availed for properties in the Philippines only for any of the following purposes:

    [1]  House construction on a lot owned by the borrower
    [2]  Purchase of a lot and construction of a house thereon
    [3]  Purchase of house and lot
    [4]  Home improvement
    [5]  Refinancing of an existing residential loan
    [6]  Redemption of a foreclosed property
The requirements for the availment of the housing loan under the program are:
    [1]  Membership under the FiLOW Program for at least six (6) months
    [2]  At least 12 monthly contributions
    [3]  Not over 70 years old at the date of maturity
    [4]  With legal capacity to enter into a contract and purchase real property under Philippine laws
    [5]  Have not availed of a housing loan except lot purchase with Pag-IBIG fund, either as principal or co-borrower
Those who earn less than US$1,000 a month may borrow up to P250,000, while those who earn more than US$1,000 a month may borrow as much as P500,000.


Filipino overseas workers/immigrants may mail the accomplished application form with a photocopy of their present work contract to any of the Pag-IBIG Fund offices nationwide or at the following address:

Filipino Overseas Workers (FiLOW) Department
7/F, Atrium of Makati Building
Makati Ave., Makati City, Metro Manila
Tel. Nos. 810-27-16 to 44 loc 333.

Filipino overseas workers on the jobsite can send their application forms, with a photocopy of their present work contract, to the nearest Philippine Embassy/Consulate or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) office.

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Executive Order No. 195 and Department of Labor and Employment Order No. 37 (series of 1994) mandates a compulsory medical care coverage to Filipino OCWs. The Philippine Overseas and Employment Administration (POEA) also issued Memorandum No. 70, providing for the guidelines for the medical care program.


    [1]  OCWs who have been recruited and placed by licensed manning agencies;
    [2]  Those recruited and placed by the POEA;
    [3]  Name hires;
    [4]  Vacationing OCWs;

The provisions of the POEA circular does not apply to seafarers and land-based workers who are active members of the Philippine's Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System.



Beneficiaries shall be entitled to benefits under the medicare program if he has paid at least one year contribution within the immediate three (3) month-period prior to the first day of confinement.

Benefits include:

Specific Procedures
     [1]  OCWs will fill up the OCW Medicare Information Sheet (MIS). Accomplished form will be evaluated by the Medicare
            Registration Center.
     [2]  Pay a premium of not more than P900 per member for a year's coverage. A corresponding proof of payment shall
            be issued.
     [3]  Workers seeking exemptions for the compulsory medical coverage are required to attach certificate of active
            SSS/GSIS Voluntary membership status.
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 The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) attributes the realization of the 3rd Edition of the Handbook on Filipinos Overseas to the following:

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