Monday, May 16, 2016

New law strengthens say of OFWs on welfare fund

JEDDAH: Programs being sought by Filipino overseas workers are now expected to be put in place with the enactment of a new law reorganizing the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
Republic Act 10801, signed just last week by President Benigno Aquino III, transforms OWWA into a national government agency attached to the Department of Labor and Employment.
Sen. Edgardo Angara, one of the authors of the measure, said what this means is that OWWA would now receive government funding instead of relying solely from the contributions of its OFW members.
It “also mandates greater representation of OFWs in the OWWA Board of Trustees by increasing the number of representatives from the OFW sector from the present three to five (two from land-based OFWs, two from sea-based OFWs and one from the women sector) while representatives from the government will be reduced from seven to six,” Angara said in a press statement.
Angara said the more than 2.4 million OFWs would now have a say on where OWWA funds would be used and what programs and services should be given priority.
He said the new law “further boosts the government's capacity to assist migrant workers who lost their jobs by making the reintegration of OFWs one of the core programs of OWWA, which will be funded with not less than 10 percent of the total collection every year.”
Such programs include granting of loans and other financial support, trainings on financial literacy, entrepreneurial development, techno-skills, business counseling and job referrals for both local and overseas employment.
Furthermore, Angara said, the new law seeks to ensure transparency in the use and management of the OWWA funds, and mandates the OWWA to maintain an interactive website to collect OFW feedback, comments, suggestions and complaints on existing programs and services.
For a contribution of $25 to the OWWA trust fund every two years for land-based and yearly for other workers, OWWA members are entitled to benefits such as death (P100,000 for natural death and P200,000 for accidental death), disability (P100,000), burial (P20,000) health care, education and training.

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