MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – Move over ‘Balikbayan.’ The Philippine government is about to launch a new program designed to benefit undocumented Pinoys in the U.S. who face deportation under a Donald Trump administration. It’s called ‘Balikbansa.’
Today, Trump outlined his 10-point immigration policy that, among others, rules out any amnesty for foreign nationals living in the U.S. illegally, and calling for the return of undocumented immigrants to their respective home countries.
In anticipation of a Trump victory in November’s U.S. presidential elections (many U.S. Pinoys are voting for Trump), the Duterte administration has finalized a blueprint of a new national program that would deal with the expected influx of ‘deported’ U.S. Pinoys.
The program, patterned after the existing ‘Balikbayan’ program, would provide generous perks and benefits for all Filipinos who will be deported back to the Philippines by the Trump administration.
Among the benefits are the increase in the maximum value of personal and gift items that returning Pinoys can bring back via their balikbayan boxes. The new cap will be increased to One Million Pesos, up from the existing P350,000.
In addition, returning Pinoys will be exempted from paying income taxes for the first 5 years after their return to the Philippines, assuming of course that they find employment.
Also, certified ‘deported’ U.S. Filipinos will be able to exchange their dollars for Philippine pesos at a special rate which would be 30% above the prevailing U.S. Dollar-Peso exchange rate.
“Our overseas Filipinos, documented or not, are the true heroes of our country,” Duterte said, “sacrificing everything just to provide their families with a better life. We owe it to them to return their heroism if expelled from countries like the U.S.”
Presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar told The Adobo Chronicles that the ‘Balikbansa’ program will only go into effect if Trump is elected president. ‘Otherwise, we revert back to the Balikbayan program,’ he added.