Filipino au pairs may soon be exempted from paying travel taxes and airport terminal fees if a recommendation by Vice President Jejomar Binay is approved by President Benigno Aquino III.
Binay, the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino worker concerns, cited the contribution of au pairs to the economy in recommending their exemption.
"In return for their services in doing light chores for their host family, the au pairs are given compensation, in amounts ranging from US$500 to 1,000 per month, which they dutifully remit back to their families in the Philippines," Binay said in a memorandum to Aquino.
Excerpts of the memorandum were posted on the website of the Office of the Vice President Saturday evening.
Binay also pointed out au pairs are usually considered equal to the members of their host's family.
Au pairs are usually placed under a cultural exhcange arrangement for a maximum stay of two years, where they will be placed in an immersion program in cultural and language learning in the specific European country of destination.
"In light of the foregoing, and in recognition of their contribution to the inward foreign exchange remittances, I respectfully recommend that au pairs be also exempted from the payment of the travel tax and airport terminal fee, in the same manner as Overseas Filipino Workers are exempted," he said.
Binay also updated Aquino on the au pair situation, where a ban on Filipino au pairs to Europe that was instituted in 1997 was lifted on February 16 this year.
The lifting came after an ad hoc technical working group (TWG) on au pairs came up with guidelines on the departure of au pairs to Europe.
The ban on deployment in 1997 was due to reports of maltreatment, unfair compensation, excessive working hours, discrimination and sexual assault, and abuse of the system by illegal recruiters and syndicates.
But now, the guidelines provide for the safeguards and mechanisms to ensure the safety and security of au pairs.
Composing the TWG were the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Labor and Emloyment and Education; Commission of Filipinos Overseas, Bureau of Immigration, and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. — LBG, GMA News