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Extra 4Ps “Ayuda” to be funded in part by BI earnings

Rep. Marcelino Libanan (4Ps Party-list) stated on Sunday that the Bureau of Immigration (BI) can assist in generating new government revenues required to finance further cash assistance, or “ayuda,” for impoverished households struggling with the soaring prices of essential commodities.

Without a doubt, the BI can generate between PHP10 billion and PHP12 billion in annual revenues, and potentially even more, according to Libanan, who held the position of BI Commissioner for three years during the Arroyo administration.

Prior to the epidemic, he continued, “the BI already produced PHP9.3 billion in sales in 2019, up 32% from the PHP7.03 billion it brought in in 2018.”

The proposed Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act, which the House passed in the last Congress on the third and final reading but the Senate rejected, has been brought back to life by Libanan.

House Bill 1069, which is being reintroduced by Libanan in the upcoming 19th Congress, aims to restructure and further professionalize the BI, update its technologies, and increase personnel compensation.

The bill also permits the BI to keep “no more than PHP1.2 billion” of its annual revenue so that it may put money into new information technology-enabled automation initiatives that increase revenue, like a totally online application and payment system that would get rid of corruption.

The BI receives revenue through immigration tax, clearing and certification taxes, fines and penalties, and visa processing and extension costs. The agency’s earnings are directly transferred to the federal treasury.

The government is attempting to raise additional funds to subsidize low-income households that are being hammered by rising consumer costs as Libanan’s bill is introduced.

The initial tranche of the add-on cash handouts to families listed under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, or the 4Ps, cost PHP6.2 billion, which was previously provided by the Department of Budget and Management.

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