Thursday, May 15, 2008

OFWs dismiss OWWA claims

Days after the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration claimed that the orgainsation lost around P70 million in pre departure loans, a migrant workers’ group, Migrante International has shot back and accused the OWWA of covering up its failure in managing funds. John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East (Migrante-ME) regional coordinator said that the entire issue was yet another attempt to stop the welfare programs given to the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). Previously, Labor secretary, Marianito Roque had said that he had decided to suspend the assistance after the OFWs failed to re pay the loans. Monterona believes Roque was forced to issue the statement after the lawmakers were about to investigate the alleged misuse of OWWA funds. He says the loans were suspended just after the OWWA Omnibus Policies was passed and implemented by the agency’s Governing Board. Migrante suspects that more hidden misuses and diversion of funds have been done or charged to OWWA fund. Monterona said that as the OWWA fund was perched at P10 billion mark it was prudent to consider lowering OFW membership fees at a time when prices of all commodities have gone up. He feels by lowering the OWWA membership fee and removing the unnecessary government fees the government can provide some relief to the OFWs and their families.

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