By Mia M. Gonzalez | Business Mirror
The Commission on Audit should “relax” its rules on fund releases from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) for distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), to expedite government assistance to them, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Tuesday.
“OWWA has huge trust fund. But this remain largely untapped because of the rules and regulations of the COA [Commission on Audit] on the use of this fund,” Marcos said in a statement.
Marcos said he is prepared to propose legislation to remedy the current situation, if necessary.
He added that the current COA rules do not address the needs of distressed OFWs in terms of releases from the OWWA trust fund, which was established to help distressed migrant Filipino workers.
“There is a need to relax the rules and regulations of COA so that these funds can be used to help our workers abroad,” he said.
He said COA should revisit its policy and rules to make them responsive to the requirements of distressed OFWs removing restrictions in the use of OWWA funds.
Marcos also said efforts of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to help distressed OFWs are being hindered by insufficient funds.
“What we need to do is to provide the necessary funds to the DFA because problematic OFWs run to our embassies and consulates for assistance. The DFA is willing and ready to help but they don’t have enough funds for example to hire lawyers to defend OFWs who have pending cases in court,” Marcos said.