Vice President Jejomar C. Binay has recommended to President Benigno S. Aquino III that like Overseas Filipino Workers, Filipino au pairs should also be exempted from paying travel tax and airport terminal fee.

Binay recommended the exemption in a memorandum for the President, citing their contribution to the economy through foreign exchange remittances.

“In return for their services in doing light chores for their host family, the au pairs are given compensation, in amounts ranging from US$ 500-1,000 per month, which they dutifully remit back to their families in the Philippines,” the Vice President related in the memorandum.

According to Binay, “au pairs are considered equal to the members of their host’s family, and are 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.”

Binay also updated the President on the au pair situation, in which the ban on Filipino au pairs to Europe that was instituted in 1997 was lifted on February 16 this year after an ad hoc Technical Working Group on au pairs came up with the “Guidelines on the Departure of Au Pairs to Europe”.

The guidelines provide for the safeguards and mechanisms to ensure the safety and security of au pairs. The TWG was composed of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labor and Emloyment, Department of Education, Commission of Filipinos Overseas, Bureau of Immigration, and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

The ban on au pair 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.