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OWWA livelihood program for OFWs questioned for lack of documents

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by Allan Yves Briones

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s (OWWA) Balik-Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay (BPBH) program was flagged for the lack of supporting documents required under law.

A report by the Commission on Audit (COA) disclosed that the P632.89 million livelihood program should be better monitored by OWWA.

“Further, releases to beneficiaries…were not supported with the required documentation prescribed under Section 4 of the said MOI, contrary to Section 4 (6) of PD No. 1445, rendering the validity of the releases doubtful,” the report read.

In 2018, OWWA was allocated some P700 million to implement livelihood programs for the benefit of returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

Under BPBH, returning OFWs are granted P20,000 cash assistance which should be utilized as start-up capital, accompanied by the necessary entrepreneurship training.

OWWA officials claimed that the implementation of the program was inhibited by several problems including a lack of manpower and the inability of OFW applicants to adequately comply with the documentary requirements.

State auditors explained that the slow utilization of the fund may affect the welfare of OFW beneficiaries who wish to apply for the program.

COA urged the OWWA Regional Welfare Office to ensure stricter monitoring of the program to make certain that the intended beneficiaries are not deprived of the government services they are entitled to. #

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