Press Release
May 19, 2016

Jinggoy: Enhanced OFW welfare services underway with new OWWA Act

Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada believes that enhanced welfare services and quicker emergency response will be accorded to the overseas Filipino workers with the recent enactment of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Act.

President Aquino signed into law last May 10 Republic Act 10801, or the OWWA Act, which mandates the OWWA as the "national government agency vested with the special function of developing and implementing welfare programs and services that respond to the needs of its member-OFWs and their families."

Sen. Estrada, principal author of the measure as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, says that the law addresses a host of concerns relayed to the body through various public hearings by the OFW groups on provision of prompt assistance, ensuring competent manpower and availability of funds.

"Sa pagsasabatas ng ating panukala, inaasahan natin na magiging mas mahusay pa ang operasyon ng OWWA tungo sa pagbibigay ng mabilis na aksyon at ayuda sa ating mga kababayang nangangailangan ng tulong sa ibang bansa," Jinggoy said.

Among the new provisions introduced in the new OWWA Act is the exclusive use of OWWA Fund for the financing of core programs and services for the benefit of member-OFWs and their families, while the national government shall appropriate budget for the personal services, maintenance and operating expenses, and capital outlay of the agency.

Jinggoy earlier said that the funds available for welfare programs of OFWs will be effectively doubled, as combined expenses for the PS and MOOE eat up more than 40% of OWWA's annual expenditures.

The OWWA Fund is pooled from the US$25 contribution fee of land- and sea-based OFWs.

In addition, the new OWWA Act prescribes a Reorganization and Qualifications Upgrading Program towards ensuring their manpower complement are ready and capable to be of service to the OFWs. This shall be governed by increased visibility from the head office to various regional offices and every foreign post of the Philippines and efficient and optimized delivery of OWWA services.

"The government is duty bound to protect and extend assistance to all our kababayans, wherever they may be, especially to our so-called 'mga bagong bayani' who are also instrumental in keeping the economy afloat. Creating a well-organized and a caring OWWA will be a great step towards that end," Jinggoy underscored.

The OWWA Act was among the 10 priority legislative measures of Sen. Estrada for the current 16th Congress.

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