Press Release
August 1, 2006

For every P100 it collects from OFWs
OWWA spent only 69 centavos for their repatriation - Recto

For every P100 contributed by departing OFWs to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) fund a measly 69 centavos or less than one percent - is spent by the agency to repatriate Filipinos in distress abroad.

Citing official OWWA documents, Sen. Ralph Recto said that while OWWA income reached P8.135 billion from 1995 to 2004 , only P56.4 million was spent during the ten-year period to bring back troubled OFWs home.

Thats less than one percent , when the principal reason for the mandatory payment of the OWWA fee is that it is some sort of an insurance or a safety net that can bail you out when youre in trouble in some foreign land, he said .

Departing OFWs are required to pay a membership contribution of US$25.00 or its local currency equivalent on a per contract basis but shall not exceed two (2) years. The same amount shall be paid upon renewal of membership in the succeeding years.

The fees collected are deposited in a trust fund that is outside congressional scrutiny insofar as the preparation of the national budget is concerned as the OWWA budget does not pass Congress.

In contrast to the microscopic point 69 percent spending rate for OFWs , OWWA spent P1.8 billion for the salaries of its employees in the ten years the P8.135 billion income was realized, Recto said.

In addition, it spent P1 billion for its operating expenses such as office supplies, utilities, office rent, gasoline, transportation from 1995 to 2004.

For every peso OWWA collects from an OFW, an average 23 centavos goes to the pay of its employees plus 12 centavos for the agencys so-called MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenses) , Recto explained .

Recto said OWWA claims in its report to Congress last year that it has spent P1.25 billion for projects and programs for OFWs and their dependents.

Still, while laudable, this is just 15 percent of total income and way below the 35 percent that OWWA spent for its payroll and operations, Recto said .

The senator , however, credited OWWA for keeping half , or P4.317 billion, of the P8.134 billion it collected from 1995 to 2004.

But this data is very revealing. It shows that it has money for repatriating Filipinos caught in the war between Israel and Lebanon . If this is the case, then why doesnt OWWA use it ?. It can make amends for the years that it has been scrimping on repatriation money , Recto said .

The cumulative income statement of the OWWA for the said ten-year period showed it earned P6.199 billion from fees, P1.422 billion from interest income, and P513 million from other income.

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