Tuesday, February 10, 2009
A group of Saudi Arabia based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) wrote me an email providing me a copy of a letter to senate President Juan Ponce Enrile asking him to create an oversight committee to supervise the disbursement of the Expatriate Livelihood Support Fund (ELSF).
The P1 billion ELSF was proposed by President Gloria Arroyo to provide financial assistance to OFWs who lost their jobs abroad as a result of the global financial crisis. Funds would be sourced from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), she said during her visit to the kingdom last week.
“Since the OWWA fund comes from our $25.00 biennial contributions, which is held in trust by the government, it is both our right and responsibility to ensure the Fund, our fund, is only used for the benefit of our member-owners and our families,” the OFWs said.
Francis Oca, VP, PPP (Partidong Pangdaigdigang Pilipino – Riyadh) said “while we do not question the intention by which the ELSF was created, we want to be sure that adequate safeguards are in place so that this Program does not end up like the Smokey Mountain project.”
Lastly they asked that the fund is used only to assist retrenched OFWs and their families and that measures be put in place to ensure the recovery of the funds disbursed.