A wife of a contract worker cannot force the agency to remit to her account more than what is allowed by the worker. What is required by law is to implement and enforce the required inward remittance of the workers’ salaries to the Philippines and not to see whether or not the full amount of the remittance is received by the dependents of its workers. The mandatory remittance required by law does not divest the right of an overseas worker over his hard earned money or earnings. A worker earned salary or wage is his exclusive property; the matter of its disposition is his alone and his employer cannot interfere on how salary should be divided and to whom the salary should go. The employment contract is the bilateral agreement between the seafarer and his principal, as represented by the manning agency Like any personal property he can freely dispose or give to anybody without other limitations than those provided by law. The law requires the inward remittance of the 80 % of his basic salary to the country, for it contribute to the economy. But not the manner or as to how he will divide nor dispose it. His right to dispose his wage remains in his discretion.
One legal recourse of the wife is the filing of a civil case for support. Once the court grants the petition, the said court order should be given to the manning agency and attached to each POEA standard employment contract. This will serve as a notice to the seafarer that failure to comply will have legal consequence. The manning agency is likewise bound to abide by said order for the allocation in favor of the wife.
Nevertheless, a Filipino seafarer can be held criminally liable and be subjected to sanctions due to the act of abandoning his financial obligation to persons to which he is obliged by law to support. Under the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act , which was promulgated March 08, 2004, “economic abuse” can be committed against a woman who is his wife, former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or illegitimate, within or without the family abode.”
Popularly known as VAW, the said law defined "Economic abuse" as any act that makes or attempts to make a woman financially dependent which includes, but is not limited to the following:
1. withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any legitimate profession, occupation, business or activity, except in cases wherein the other spouse/partner objects on valid, serious and moral grounds as defined in
2. deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use and enjoyment of the conjugal, community or property owned in common;
If convicted under this law, the seafarer shall be punished by prision mayor, or imprisonment of a minimum of six years and one day to a maximum of twelve years. He shall also shall pay a fine in the amount of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) but not more than three hundred thousand pesos (300,000.00). The court may likewise expedite the process of issuance of a hold departure order once the case is filed.