No aid left for OFWs: From budget cuts to missing OWWA funds

Global alliance of overseas Filipino and families Migrante International today bewailed what it called the government’s “fiscal and criminal neglect of OFWs’ rights and welfare”.

“From budget cuts to missing OWWA funds, what else can we expect from this government? They slash funds for direct OFW services, pass on the burden to OFWs through various fees and collections, and then they plunder those very funds that came from our OFWs’ hard work and sacrifice,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

Martinez made the statement after a report by the Commission on Audit (COA) revealed that OWWA officers overseas failed to remit more than P21 million OWWA funds to their Manila account. Migrante called for a “full audit” of OWWA funds and an immediate investigation of all of OWWA’s overseas and home-based officials.

Direct services for OFWs also suffered cuts in the 2012 national budget, with aggregate funds for direct OFWs services getting only a share of less than one percent, or .017%, of the P1.8 trillion national budget.

“This is the kind of thanks we get from the government after bringing in more than $18 billion in remittances. Do the math and get the sum of injustice against the migrant sector. OFWs all over the world are very angry and demanding accountability. Heads must roll,” he said.

Martinez said the Migrante International is preparing for series of protests here and abroad against OFW budget cuts and misuse and corruption of OWWA funds next week. ###

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