Yes, you’ve heard it right. The Philippine government may be pushing a move to make some money from OFWs. A $50 additional fee for OWWA repatriation fund is currently in talk of the town where many OFWs will surely be furious about. This is because a certain Congresswoman Theresa Bonoan-David filed this bill very recently.
I remember my encounter during my vacation leave in Philippines with the OEC requirement so I can travel back to Qatar. Since I came in Doha in visit visa, I am oblige to register myself as an OFW which I undoubtedly did in POLO Qatar before I left for my vacation. I paid respective amount to get myself registered and be listed as an official overseas Filipino worker. I opted not to get an OEC from Polo Qatar since I was planning to spend at least 75 days in Philippines and I have been aware that the OEC only has a 60 days validity. I brought my contract with me to Polo Qatar office, got it stamped and officially got verified as a worker. Then I went to Philippines for my leave expecting getting an OEC will be easy.
To my surprise, when I went to POEA/OWWA Butuan, the regional office asked me to pay $100 for registration, $25 owwa membership plus the required philhealth contribution. I had to scream my right why I should pay for $100 registration when I have been verified from Qatar. Even worse is, they wanted me to join PDOS despite the fact that I am clearly aware of the rules of Qatar since I lived here for more than two years already.
To my disappointment, I opted not to get my OEC due to the cost that it entails and took a trip directly to Davao. In POEA Davao, getting OEC was so quick and they didn’t even have me pay for that $100 registration fee. I presented the same documents I had in POEA Butuan and I only paid the OWWA Membership, OEC Fee and the PhiliHealth contribution.
Point is, each and every OFWs are doing more than just hard work to be able to send money to our loved ones in Philippines – there’s more to that. We aren’t digging the money in the backyard. We sacrificed so much to earn and do we really have to give for nothing?
Now, here comes another soon to be a burden in the shoulders of OFWs. Here’s the full article published from TV5 new website:
MANILA, Philippines – The overseas Filipino workers’ group Migrante-Middle East is opposed to a legislator’s proposal to collect an additional $50 fee from every departing OFW to help sustain the government’s emergency repatriation fund under the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said that Manila Rep. Ma. Theresa Bonoan-David’s proposal “is ill advised.”
“She may be misinformed because the issue is not about lack of funds,” Monterona said in a statement issued on Saturday.
According to him, the OFW trust fund under OWWA is now about P13 billion and is earning. However, the OWWA allegedly does not have enough programs and welfare services to OFWs and their dependents.
“The OWWA has not been transparent on the real status of the OFWs trust fund and where it is being spent,” Monterona said.
He claimed that Bonoan-David’s proposal “is clearly anti-OFW” because it would just be an added burden to Filipino migrant workers. Monterona also said that it is against the mandate of Republic Act 10022 or the Migrant Workers Act of 2010.
“Instead of imposing additional fees or charges upon our heavy shoulders, considering the huge contribution of OFWs in terms of yearly remittances posting to $1.7-B on April 3 to 4 percentage point higher than the same month of last year, Rep. Bonoan-David must give up and volunteer to channel her millions of pork barrel allocation to OWWA’s emergency repatriation fund,” Monterona said.
Migrante hopes that Vice President Jejomar Binay, presidential adviser on OFWs concern, will defend the interest of Filipino migrant workers.
“We hope that….[he] is on our side as we have heard him several times issuing statements against additional unnecessary fees and charges overburdening our OFWs,” Monterona said.
Do you think it is fair for every OFW to pay such amount? What good would that give? I oppose this $50 additional fee for OWWA repatriation fund. Aren’t we giving so much to the country already? Your thoughts? If Congresswoman Theresa Bonoan-David, the person who filed this $50 additional fee for OWWA is in your front right now, what would you tell her?