Tuesday, March 01, 2005

NR0301:GMA OWWA fund transfer anomalous

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release March 1, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Email: paggawa@edsamail.com.ph, anakpawis2003@yahoo.com
Cellphone number 09213907362
Visit geocities.com/ap_news

Malacanang's Transfer of OWWA funds today , March 1 to Philhealth Anomalous; GMA administration undermines OFWs'welfare anew - Rep. Beltran

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran once more took up the cudgels in defense of overseas Filipino workers by blowing the whistle on the Macapagal-Arroyo administration's Executive Order No. 182 that mandated the transfer of the Medicare Fund and the medicare functions of the OWWA to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

"The anomalous transfer of OWWA Medicare fund to PhilHealth and other big scams at the OWWA against overseas Filipino workers deserve to be investigated and culprits prosecuted. The various trust funds at the OWWA have been subject to various scams at the behest of the President herself. Executive Orders 182 and 392 are just some of the highly questionable moves to take out more funds from the OWWA, there are more scams that have to be uncovered," he said.

Despite formal petitions and protests from OFWs and their families and pending investigations at the House of Representatives, OWWA Board Resolution No. 005 (s. 2004) dated February 2, 2004 proves that the transfer of OWWA Medicare funds to PhilHealth was railroaded by the administration's executives in the labor portfolio - namely Labor and Employment Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas, former OWWA Administrator Virgilio Angelo, and PhilHealth CEO Francisco Duque.

In the House of Representatives various legislators including Beltran filed resolutions requesting to recall E.O. 182 (HR No. 03), investigate the use of OWWA funds (HR Nos. 04, 28 and 33) and annul OWWA Board Resolution No. 005 (HR No. 552). Despite firm opposition of OFWs and their families and the Resolutions Filed, however, Malacanang went ahead to issue Executive Order 392 dated December 28, 2004, entitled "Transfer of the Medicare Functions of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and Amending for the Purpose Executive Order 195 dated August 13, 1994."

Executive Order 392 only amended E.O. 182 and fast-tracked the impending transfer of at least P530,382,446 of the OFW Medicare Fund from the OWWA to the PhilHealth on March 1, 2005. PhilHealth Board Resolution No. 760 (s. 2005) is itself the Implementing Rules and Regulations of E.O. 182 as amended by E.O. 392.

"Again, the administration has abused its authority by transferring funds that it does not own but is only taking care of for OFWs and their health care. The transfer was implemented without the benefit of consultations among the migrant organizations and without the knowledge of the OWWA Board of Trustees as two of its members, POEA Administrator Rosalinda Baldoz and Cora Carsola, the only OFW representative in the OWWA Board, had firmly disagreed to the transfer," he said.

The idea of transferring the OWWA Medicare fund to PhilHealth came from the President and CEO of the PhilHealth itself, Dr. Francisco Duque based on his Memorandum for the President dated November
20, 2002. Dr. Duque made mention in his Memo for the President, and he's quoted as writing: "It is
respectfully requested that the Proposed Executive Order (EO) be approved by Her Excellency before the year ends. The Proposed transfer will have a significant bearing on 2004 elections and on the President's desire to provide health insurance to 8M indigents by end of 2003."

Beltran said that the OWWA Fund is a trust fund. "It is taken from the individual contributions of P900 from each OFW. These are intended for the medical needs of OFWs and their identified dependents/beneficiaries only. OFWs and their families now fear that the OWWA Medicare fund will be misplaced and be diluted by the capricious and selfish acts of top-ranking corrupt officials in the labor department headed by the President of the Republic herself," he said.#


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