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Valenzuela solon to scrutinize OWWA record on OFW funds
« on: March 03, 2008, 02:41:44 AM »
MANILA, Philippines -03/02/2008 | 08:36 PM 

Valenzuela Rep. Rex Gatchalian on Sunday said he wants an accounting of how the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) used the funds collected from contributions of overseas Filipino workers.

In a phone interview, Gatchalian hinted that there is a possibility of irregularities in the disbursement of OFW funds.

When pressed for the details, Gatchalian declined. “I’m sorry I can’t tell you why (I asked for the financial report). I have received some information and I want to verify it first by looking into whatever OWWA will submit to the committee," Gatchalian said.

“I promise I let you know if I found something wrong," the young lawmaker added.

During the committee hearing last Wednesday, Gatchalian chided Eduardo Bellido, representative of OWWA, when the latter failed to submit the documents the lawmaker requested in the previous hearing.

Gatchalian then again requested the presiding chairman, Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo, to order Bellido to submit the OWWA financial report Friday next week.

“It’s been a month since we have asked for that documents so I guess two weeks are enough for OWWA to prepare the report we are asking," Gatchalian told Romulo.

Romulo, in support to Gatchalian’s position, ordered Bellido to comply with the request.

Departing OFW is paying $25 OWWA membership fee renewable every two years.

Last December, local recruitment agents have complained that OWWA and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration were overcharging OFWs by using a peso-dollar exchange rate of P51:$1 or its peso equivalent of P1, 275 when the exchange rate was already at P42:$1.

The OWWA fee was initially reduced to P1, 050 from Dec. 19 to 31, using an exchange rate of P42:$1.

The peso equivalent of the $25 OWWA membership fee was further reduced in February to P1, 023.45 from P1, 043.58 in January.

The trust fund collected from OFW is estimated at P10 billion. - GMANews


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