Gabriela Women’s Party representatives call on the restoration of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s pre-departure loan program and urge the Commission on Audit to investigate on the government-owned and controlled corporation’s declaration of its bankruptcy.
“The suspension on OWWA’s pre-departure loan program should be lifted. Many of our poor overseas Filipino workers rely on it for their pre-departure needs such as placement and processing fees, airplane ticket, allowance, among others. Without the assistance program, they are left at the mercy of private loan sharks who lend money with an interest rate of up to 10% a month,” Gabriela solon Luzviminda C. Ilagan said.
Ilagan added that the program’s suspension was unlawful because the pre-departure loan program was mandated by law to protect and promote the welfare of migrant workers and their families. It was created under Section 21 of the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 and allocated a revolving fund of P100,000,000.
Department of Labor and Employment Sec. Marianito Roque claimed that the suspension was a result of the P70 million loss incurred by OWWA due to the failure of the borrowers to pay their loan.
Ilagan slammed OWWA for blaming the overseas workers for its failure to recover its investments and urged the Commission on Audit to investigate on the government corporation’s claim that it lacks of funds to continue the loan program.
“OWWA has enough money to support the pre-departure loan program. Its total assets currently stands at P10.2 billion and it collects around $27,000,000 a year from the $25- membership fee of an estimated 36,000 OFWs who leave the country annually. COA should look into where OWWA puts its money,” Ilagan said.