OFWs say no to ‘$50 additional fee for repatriation fund’ proposal

MIGRANTS group  expressed strong opposition on the proposed bill imposing an additional fee of $50 from every departing OFWs to sustain the government’s emergency repatriation funds.

Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona assailed Manila Representative Ma. Theresa Bonoan-David’s  proposal.

“Rep. Bonoan-David proposal is ill-advise. She may be misinformed because the issue is not about lack of funds. The OFWs trust funds held in trust to OWWA is now about P13-B and is earning, and yet the OWWA do not have enough programs and welfare services to OFWs and their dependents including the proper use of its Emergency Repatriation fund,” Monterona said.

“The OWWA has not been transparent on the real status of the OFWs trust fund and where it is being spent,” Monterona said.

Monterona said such proposal is clearly an anti-OFW. “For one, it is just an added burden to already overburdened OFWs. The proposal is also against the mandate of the Migrant Workers Act of 2010 or RA10022.

“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 challenging Rep. Bonoan-David.

“We advise Rep. Bonoan-David to drop her anti-OFW proposal of imposing $50 to every OFWs. We are not milking cows. We will campaign against her anti-OFW bill,” Monterona said.

He added that pro-OFW lawmakers should do the same.

Monterona said upon learning about such proposal, they have consulted their officers and came up with a position to oppose it and will strongly campaign against its passage in Congress.

“Migrante International leaders in Manila might seek a dialog with Rep. Bonoan-David to hear our side and position. If she will insist, then we have no choice but to intensify our campaign against her proposal and we might campaign not to vote her in the 2013 Congressional election as she will vie for reelection,” Monterona added.

He said Migrante International has been very vocal to the Aquino government about imposing unjustified and unnecessary fees and charges that will adds up on the already overburdened OFWs.

“In fact, this is one of the many challenges that we put forward to the Aquino administration –to stop imposing additional fees and charges. We hope that Vice-President Jejomar Binay, also presidential adviser on OFWs concern, is on our side as we have heard him several times issuing statements against additional unnecessary fees and charges overburdening our OFWs,” Monterona said.

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