Migrants’ alliance urges government to probe P19M missing OFW funds

ANTIPOLO CITY, October 17, 2009—One of the largest alliances of migrant workers’ organizations in the Mid-East, Migrante-ME wants Congress and the Commission on Audit (COA) to investigate the missing P19 million Employment Guarantee Trust Fund (EGTF), entrusted to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

John Leonard F. Monterona, the organization’s regional coordinator and concurrently the vice-chair of Migrante Partylist, in a statement sent to CBCPNews said, said the funds are reportedly missing for seven months now.

Monterona said in order to shoo away suspicions of POEA officials corrupting the funds, POEA Administrator Jennifer Jardin-Manalili should open the EGTF books for public scrutiny.

Migrante-ME and its mother organization in Manila, Migrante International, are now planning to file a formal request to the COA to investigate the alleged missing funds, says Monterona.

He added that they will engage the House Committee on the Overseas Workers’ Affairs and the Senate’s Committee on Labor on the issue.

The migrant leader also urges his fellow OFW to be vigilant on the case of missing EGTF funds and even to the “always-in-danger” OWWA Trust Fund.

The EGTF, apart from the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Fund (OWWA Trust Fund), is a welfare fund formed from the $50 compulsory contribution from workers who are applying for work abroad, via the POEA hiring facilities.

In 2003, EGTF contribution was only $10 dollars until the POEA Governing Board issued POEA Resolution No. 07 which has increased the EGTF fee up to $50. (Noel Sales Barcelona)