Friday, September 21, 2018

Duty Free Philippines and TESDA Relaunched Kabuhayan Shopping Program for OFW/Balikbayan

Being an OFW daughter, I've grown accustomed to Duty Free-bought pasalubong and I've often disregarded the benefits of Duty Free or tax-free stores and have thought of it as like regular shopping stores, but with imported products and Balikbayans' are only qualified to shop.

My father have been working abroad since my youngest brother had been born, I could hardly do the math but it probably would be more than 30 years. My mom left for Italy since I was 12 and up until now, eventhough she is not working there anymore, she's still living there.  I could still remember how excited we would be if some relatives would come home from outside the country and would invite us to shop with them at Duty Free.

My father now is in his verge of retirement (he's in Milan working as a custodian) and with a few plans stalled in his sleeves, he would come back by next year and push through with his dreams of farming his own small land.  And yes, my kids are awaiting that time to help him with his shopping for pasalubong, but more than that I'm ecstatic to benefit from Duty Free's new program for our unsung heroes, the OFW.  It's actually a good comeback program which had been inspired from the law that was enacted during 2002.

Duty Free Philippines Corporation (DFPC) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) renewed their partnership to relaunch the Kabuhayan Shopping Program for the benefit of the Overseas Filipino Workers and Balikbayans.

Launched in 2011, DFPC’s Kabuhayan Shopping Program aims to support OFWs to better manage their earnings from working abroad.

“The Kabuhayan Shopping Program provides opportunities for our fellow balikbayans to spend their hard earned money efficiently, investing in livelihood tools for small and micro enterprise businesses.  We are pleased to strengthen this initiative with TESDA who will also offer training for business development, marketing, among others,” DFPC Chief Operating Officer Vicente Angala said.

TESDA Director Luz Ampunin also noted that this program is an excellent opportunity for OFWs to enter into entrepreneurship considering the extra value they get on top of the tax exempt shopping privileges.

Returning Filipinos can purchase additional duty and tax exempt livelihood tools worth up to $2,000 subject to acceptable foreign currencies at Duty Free Philippines Fiestamall.  This covers items necessary to start a small and micro enterprise business such as bread and pastry production, cookery, housekeeping, shielded metal welding, carwash, among others.  TESDA will provide sufficient training for OFWs on business finance, marketing, and business development.

The DFPC’s Kabuhayan Shopping Program is provided for under the Balikbayan Law, or Republic Act No. 9174, which provides duty free shopping privileges and incentives to all OFWs/balikbayans.

As stated in the Republic Act No. 9174,

Section 1. Section 1 of Republic Act Numbered 6768 is hereby amended to read as follows:
"Section 1. Balikbayan Program. - A Balikbayan Program is hereby instituted under the administration of the Department of Tourism to attract and encourage overseas Filipinos to come and visit their motherland. This is in recognition of their contribution to the economy of the country through the foreign exchange inflow and revenues that they generate.
Section 3
 (g) Kabuhayan shopping privilege and additional tax-exempt purchase in the maximum amount of Two Thousand United States dollars (US$ 2,000.00) or its equivalent in Philippine peso and other acceptable foreign currencies; exclusive for the purchase of livelihood tools at all government-owned and controlled/operated duty-free shops.
Read on the full statement of this law here.

The program shall include a kabuhayan shopping privilege allowing tax-exempt purchase of livelihood tools providing the opportunity to avail of the necessary training to enable the balikbayan to become economically self-reliant members of society upon their return to the country. The program shall likewise showcase competitive and outstanding Filipino-made products.

To know more, visit or follow Duty Free Philippines on Facebook.

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