MANILA, Philippines – A global alliance of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), along with their families, held a lightning rally today at the first Congress of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) at the SMX Convention Center in the Mall of Asia.
The OFWs are protesting about the agency’s P2 billion reintegration loan program for returning OFWs and their families, which OWWA presented during the Congress.
Migrante International chairperson Gerry Martinez said, “This reintegration loan package is an insult to OFWs because unlike other dole-out programs by the Aquino administration, the funds will come directly from OFW contributions.”
“Walang ilalabas na pondo ang gobyerno para rito.”
Martinez explained that OFWs are required to pay a $25 OWWA membership fee for every two-year contract.
Migrante is also renewing their calls to scrap the OWWA Omnibus Policies (OOP) implemented in 2003.
Martinez said that OWWA did not consult the OFWs and their families before implementing the omnibus policies.
The migrant leader said that the OOP had transformed the OWWA funds from a “trust fund” into an “investment fund,” and added that OWWA funds have always been prone to misuse and abuse.
“But because of the OOP, it has become more vulnerable to corruption,” Martinez said.
“Sa OOP, talagang ginawang gatasan na lang ng gobyerno ang mga OFW,” he added.
Migrante plans to bring these issues to President Benigno Aquino III’s attention on his second State of the Nation Address.