Aside from providing consular services, Philippine embassies and consulates abroad also facilitate development programs for Filipinos overseas. These come in the form of skills training, financial literacy seminars, and other similar activities.
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Recently, the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. held the “Balik Ka, Kabayan” seminar for the Filipino-American community in the DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area. Basically, the event aims to encourage Filipinos abroad to invest and do business in the Philippines.
‘Balik Ka, Kabayan’ Seminar Held in Washington D.C.
The event, held in Washington D.C. on September 17th, marked the second stop of the “Balik Ka, Kabayan” program in the U.S. The seminar featured Raymond Abrea, also known as “The Philippine Tax Whiz,” a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) press release cited.
Abrea is the founding President of the Center for Strategic Reforms (CSR), a non-profit, non-government organization serving as the official think-tank of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) when it comes to business matters.
During the seminar, Abrea discussed the comprehensive tax reform program of the current Philippine administration. He gave an overview of the new laws, such as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN). He also talked about how these new regulations would affect investing and doing business in the Philippines.
Abrea also covered other topics, including the Tax Amnesty Act, upcoming Tax Reforms, and the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act.
“If you have any other ideas that will help our Philippine economy, tell us, and we will discuss it with our government,” Abrea said. “We are working hard to make sure that before this administration ends, something significant will be accomplished whether it is on our tax system, or in the ease of doing business.”
“And as we always say, if we want a better Philippines, we need to be better citizens whether we are in the Philippines or abroad, and better taxpayers,” he added.
Before Abrea’s presentation, a short video about the “Build-Build-Build” infra structure program of the Philippine government was also shown.
Meanwhile, Embassy Commercial Counsellor Raymond Batac, who served as the event emcee and moderator, shared: “We are very happy that our overseas Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in the Washington, D.C. metro area participated in this seminar, as it demonstrates their strong interest to invest and give back to the Philippines. It also allowed us to show them that the government’s reform programs are starting to bear fruit.”
Notably, the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce–Washington D.C. (PACC-DC) extended additional support to the overall success of the event.
The “Balik Ka, Kabayan” seminar is just one of the ways in which the Philippine government, through its diplomatic missions, is reaching out to Filipinos abroad. Another would be post-arrival seminars that labour offices shall be holding for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).