MANILA, Philippines–A migrant workers’ rights group has called on President Benigno Aquino III to allocate a more funds for overseas Filipino workers.
Migrante-Middle East made the appeal as the President recently announced that he will be submitting his proposed national budget.
John Monterona, the group’s regional coordinator, said the Aquino administration should correct its previous budget planning wherein it substantially cut the funds for OFWS.
He noted the approved DFA budget for this year is about P11 billion , which is a far cry from the department’s original proposal of P19 billion.
Monterona claimed the already extremely inadequate DFA allocation– from P200 million to P109.3 million–for programs on assistance to nationals that include repatriation and legal assistance programs for the estimated 10 million OFWs, is in violation of the Amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act (Republic Act 10022).
The amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act (R.A.10022) requires a P100 million legal assistance fund, excluding the assistance to the nationals’ fund, to be allocated from various sources, as follows:
–P50 million from the Contingency Fund of the President;
–P30 million from the Contingency Fund of the President Social Fund;
–P20 million from the Welfare Fund for Overseas Workers established under Letter of
Instructions No. 537 as amended by Presidential Decree Nos. 1694 and 1809.
“This fiscal year the DFA’s approved allocation for legal assistance was reduced to P27 million from P50 million of last year during Arroyo administration,” Monterona said.
He added the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) must improve and made easily accessible to its reintegration and job placements program and prioritize those who will be displaced due to ‘Saudization’ and other similar labor market constraints.