Migrante International today renewed calls for a “full audit” of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) funds and an “immediate independent investigation” of OWWA’s overseas and home-based officers in light of the Commission on Audit (COA) report that OWWA’s overseas officers failed to remit more than P21 million in collections to OWWA’s Land Bank- Manila dollar account during the last 10 years.
“A full audit of the use of OWWA funds through the years and an investigation of all OWWA officers, including its Board of Trustees, is imperative,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.
“The P21 million may just be the tip of the iceberg. This appears to have been going on for a long time because no check-and-balance of OWWA funds is in place. We also believe that overseas officers cannot have pulled this off over a span of 10 years without the complicity and tolerance of people who are higher up the food chain,” Martinez said.
“Whatever investigation should be done independently and not be compromised by officials who may have direct or indirect involvement in the non-remittance of funds.”
He also demanded public release of the names and embassies of those involved.
“The present OWWA administration cannot give the excuse that the anomaly happened ‘way before their time’ or that the officers involved have gone AWOL and cannot be found. Imposible rin na kahit isa sa mga opisyal ay hindi na nila makita. May tinatago ba sila at ayaw nilang ilabas ang mga pangalan hanggang ngayon?” said Martinez.
The migrant leader said that OFWs worldwide are up in arms against the non-remittance of funds and will be holding protest actions here and abroad. Protests will culminate on December 18, International Migrants Day.
Migrante International will hold a picket-protest at the OWWA tomorrow, November 29. “We will not stop until the funds are returned to us and perpetrators are held accountable.” ###