August 11, 2022
The appointment of the new Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) chief Arnell Ignacio, a former television host and active supporter of the former President Rodrigo Duterte who has no experience as an overseas worker, comes at a critical time for OFWs who currently require vital aid for their families severely affected by the recent earthquake that hit Abra and the rest of the Cordillera and Ilocos regions in the northern part of the Philippines.
OFWs in Hong Kong denounced the difficulty experienced by their families desperate to claim a measly three thousand pesos for financial assistance as they needed to comply with so many requirements. Even worse, the local OWWA office refused those not included in their list despite being active OWWA members. This incompetence and neglect to provide urgent financial and livelihood assistance by the government is reminiscent of the failure of the DOLE-AKAP program at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic where thousands were excluded from aid.
President Bongbong Marcos’ appointment of Arnell Ignacio, who previously served as OWWA deputy executive director and deputy administrator during the Duterte administration, reveals his continuity of the choice of officials that should provide welfare service to our hailed economic heroes.
Overseas Filipinos vow to remain vigilant to ensure that this political appointee will deliver protection and welfare services and not just put on a show by using the OWWA as his venue. OFWs deserve an honest, humane, competent administrator!
OWWA had been established during the administration of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. to provide protection and welfare for overseas Filipino workers. However, it has turned out to be a profit-making agency that become source of unexplained government profit making investments for their political agenda and source of corruptions.
MIGRANTE International will continue to call for genuine and free welfare services for our OFWs without additional financial burden especially at this time of economic crisis and increasing prices of major commodities and public utilities. We continue to demand for the immediate stop of mandatory fees such as the OWWA membership contribution, Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), Pag-Ibig, SSS, PhilHealth, and other training fees required by employment agencies.
PBBM has promised to fulfill the wishes of every Filipino. For now, all he has done is continue his predecessor’s political policies while recycling protégées and assigning officials in government positions to serve his agenda of exporting human labor. ##