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Angara seeks to reform OWWA

Senator Sonny Angara wants to  strengthen the government’s support to overseas Filipino workers and their families by introducing reforms to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

His proposed measure declares OWWA as a national government agency and an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment “vested with a special function of developing and implementing welfare programs and services that respond to the needs of its member-OFWs and their families.”

Since 1980, OWWA is an independent financial agency that manages the OWWA Fund or the welfare fund of overseas workers and provides services to its contributing members like loans and insurances.

It is entirely self-funded through the contributions of its members and receives no allocation from the national government.  

“The task of OWWA is not only to collect contriibutions. It is also the mandate of OWWA to ensure the safety and welfare of OFWs. So that the DBM or the Department of Budget and Management and the Governance Commission or GCG said OWWA is an NGA or national government  agency and the government should annually fund it,” said Angara, acting chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development.

Angara’s bill   also seeks to include the reitegration of OFWs as one of the core programs of OWWA, mandating that not less than 10 percent of the total collection will be used for the reintegration program every year.

The bill provides that the OWWA fund can only be used to exclusively serve the welfare of member-OFWs and their families, and ensures transparency in the utilization and management of the funds.

Once the proposed measure is passed into law, OWWA will have a clear mandate that can be trusted by    OFWs and the international community.

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