Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Avail lof ivelihood support fund as it is from "Katas ng OFWs"

Press Release
4 February 2009

Migrante-ME to laid off OFWs:
enlist and avail livelihood support fund as it is from "Katas ng OFWs"

Migrante-Middle East, the largest alliance of overseas Filipino workers' organizations in the Middle East, today calls all laid off OFWs to come, enlist, and avail the livelihood support funds facilitated by the Arroyo administration which bulk of the funds is taken from OWWA funds – from '"Katas ng OFWs".

"This is what we have been demanding from the Arroyo administration – to provide assistance to those who will be laid off due to global financial crisis. The livelihood assistance program was made possible because of our strong demand and continued campaign to provide relief to laid off OFWs and their families," declared by John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona is urging all laid off OFWs to enlist themselves, and actively pursue its claim at the Department of Labor and Employment and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in order to avail the livelihood assistance loan by the Arroyo administration.

"The P1-B Filipino expatriates livelihood support fund is from the OWWA funds, a compulsory collection of US$25 per OFW, thus it is from "Katas ng OFWs". It is but prudent that it must be return back to OFWs, without any interests and conditions," Monterona averred.

Monterona said while his group is encouraging laid off OFWs to enlist and to avail the livelihood assistance fund facilitated by the Arroyo administration, OFWs must also be vigilant to ensure that these funds must go to the rightful beneficiaries and not to the big pockets of Arroyo administration's corrupt government officials who may take advantage of the funds and use it for early electioneering and campaign.

"We are demanding from the Arroyo administration full disclosure of claims and beneficiaries of this P1-B Expatriates Livelihood Fund taken from the P10-B OWWA funds held in trust to the government, just to be sure that OFWs' money will go through the intended beneficiaries," Monterona added.

Monterona said a special oversight committee composes of OFWs and their organizations' representatives, Church leader and non-government organizations must be formed to look into these funds especially its disbursement.

"In other words, there must be in-placed system and procedure of disbursement to ensure that the P1-B expatriates funds, which amount is mostly taken from OWWA funds, will not be wasted and channeled to the pockets of corrupt government officials," Monterona added.

Migrante-ME is calling the Congress, both the Senate and House of Representatives' respective Committee on OFWs concerns to initiate the creation of the special oversight committee to look into the disbursement of P1-B expatriate funds.

"We are raising this because it is an issue of public interests and OFWs money held in trust to the government; We don't want that these amount will just gone like bubbles in the air," Monterona ended. # # #

John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012

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