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Reduced OWWA Membership fee takes effect Jan. 1
« on: January 04, 2008, 09:12:11 PM »
owwahh1 - Reduced OWWA Membership fee takes effect Jan. 1  - Philippine Daily News By JULIE JAVELLANA-SANTOS

Starting Jan. 1, 2008, departing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) began to pay a lower OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) membership fee because of the fall in the peso-dollar exchange rate in 2007 which hit a 7-year high of P41.10=$1 last December 10.

OWWA Administrator Marianito Roque said that because of the 19 percent drop, the OFW contribution to the welfare fund was set at P1,050 per employment contract.

Roque said this was arrived at during the OWWA Board meeting last December 17, 2007 when the board issued OWWA Resolution No. 38 lowering the contribution.

He said the previous amount was based on a peso-dollar exchange rate of P51=$1.

Roque added in an interview with that OWWA Resolution No. 38 will also be applied retroactively to benefit OFWs who paid the OWWA membership contribution at the old exchange rate from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2007.

He said OWWA contributors during the said period will be issued credit memoranda, which shall entitle the bearer OWWA member to an extended OWWA membership for a period of three (3) months beyond the two (2) years / twenty-four (24) months maximum entitlement to OWWA programs and services. These members will be notified in writing of their entitlement to the said credit memorandum.

To prevent any further similar occurrences, Roque said the collection of OWWA membership contributions would reflect accurately the changing dollar-peso exchange rate, the aforementioned resolution also provided that the said exchange rate would be based on the average dollar-peso exchange rate of the preceding month as determined by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

But OFWs in Saudi Arabia said "the fact still remains that the OWWA membership fee (be it in USD or Pesos) is illegal and unconstitutional. LOI 537 and Republic Act 8042 provisions will give weight that OWWA Omnibus Code runs counter to existing magna carta law of the OFWs."

Filipino community leaders there suggested that Senate and Congress should review all existing laws related to fees being collected from the OFWs "with diligence" and compel the Commission on Audit (COA) to come out with an audited financial report of OWWA's expenses for the last seven years vis-à-vis how much of this OWWA membership fee directly benefits each and every OF

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