OFW group to Congress: Investigate alleged diversion of OAV funds
11 September 2009
An alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ organizations based in the Middle East, today said to shed light on the issue of alleged diversion of OAV funds intended for the implementation of OAV registrations abroad, the Congress House Committees on Overseas Workers Affairs (COWA), and Foreign Affairs must investigate the issue.
“In aid of legislation, the Congress concerned committees such as the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs and the Committee on Foreign Affairs must conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the alleged diversion of OAV funds intended for OAV registration,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.
Monterona said they were informed that the budget intended for the conduct of OAV registration was released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), not to the Commissions on Elections.
“We wonder why for this year’s OAV registration, the DBM released the budget for the conduct of OAV registration to the DFA and not to the COMELEC as the lead agency on this particular exercise. In fact, the COMELEC could only deputize different RP posts abroad for mobilization and implementation of the OAV law (R.A. 9198) but it is still the COMELEC that is in-charge of the enforcement, administration and implementation of the OAV law,” Monterona added.
Monterona said if there is a separate budget allocated to DFA-Overseas Absentee Voting Secretariat intended for the expenses associated with OAV registration; then the DFA must account this to the public for scrutiny.
“Because until now, it is still puzzling us why the registration period for overseas absentee voters has been shortened from thirteen months (13) to seven (7) months that ended last 31 August 2009 if in fact there is budget intended for it to complete the original registration period of 13 months same as of previous OAV registrations?” Monterona queried.
“We would like to know that if the budget for OAV registration was really used for what it is intended and if it has something to do with the shortening of OAV registration from originally 13 months to 7 months long,” Monterona added.
Monterona said the shortening of OAV registration is a major issue as to the implementation of the OAV law (R.A. 9198) as we have seen it resulted to disenfranchisement of the millions of OFWs and Overseas Filipinos abroad.
Monterona cited that as at end of August, the deadline for the shortened OAV registration, there are only 200,637 new registrants; “This is way, way behind the original target of 1-M voters in the 2010 election,” he added.
“We reiterate our call to the members of the Congress to investigate the alleged diversion of funds for the OAV registrations abroad and determine if it has something to do with the shortening of OAV registrations that resulted to disenfranchisement of millions of OFWs and overseas Filipinos abroad,” Monterona ended. # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012