4,000 OFWs in Tigaon, Cam Sur, “delisted” by OWWA; investigation urged

Now a senior citizen, “Larry” Bombase shares his overseas work experiences to Bicol Today.com in an interview during the Tigaon relief operation on Thursday, October 19, and he ponders aloud on why nine (9) other family members, including him, are not included in the OWWA master list. “Something is wrong in the OWWA database system and the billions of pesos contributed by OWWA members since its establishment until this year, which must be protected, secured, and audited.” says Bombase as he urges the Senate to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation. (Photo by Ms. Nerian Palaypayon, housewife and former OFW)

By Joey Natividad

TIGAON, Camarines Sur (BicolToday.com) – About 4,000 OWWA-OFW members, including their family representatives, in Tigaon had been delisted from OWWA’s master list when the agency distributed relief goods to only 101 members.

According to OFW and OWWA member Lorenzo “Larry” Bombase Jr., a resident of this town, he estimated that about 4,000 members had been stricken out from the Tigaon master list.

“Larry” Bombase wants the House, or Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate, in aid of legislation, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) if the “delisting and manipulation of membership database is of wider scale which is connected to “ some mechanisms for spending justification of its billions of pesos of workers’ contributions.”

According to him, many sons and daughters of this town have worked abroad in various forms, from a domestic helper in Hongkong to construction workers in the Middle East, to high-paying jobs as international seamen.

Bombase criticized the relief operation by OWWA which distributed on Thursday, October 19, 15 kilos of rice and assorted groceries each to only 101 members, claiming the food pack is worth Php1,000.

In nearby Lagonoy town that same day, about 4,000 OWWA members were reported over the radio as “having received their food packs and cash, the total worth of Php 5,000.”

Nearby San Jose town relief operation was also reported as “successful”.

OWWA, Tigaon PESO in “passing the buck” game

When pressed on where the relief master-list had come, OWWA staffers pointed to LGU-Tigaon Public Employment Service Office (Tigaon-PESO) listing as source “for validation”, but inside sources in Tigaon- PESO said the list came from OWWA master list.

Bombase noted a zarzuela of “passing the buck game” and “blame tossing” between OWWA and Tigaon-PESO when he was pressing for answers about the “delisting conspiracy.”

“To the victors, the spoils”

Bombase suspected OWWA has problems with its master list and it relied on Tigaon’s PESO office database which is “selective and contaminated by local politics.”

Bombase stopped short from saying the PESO-supplied data given to OWWA are “lists of names of chosen families of political ward leaders and selected supporters of the ruling political group who want them to benefit from OWWA”.

He also stopped short from saying that “unclaimed relief goods would found their way into the homes of LGU and PESO personnel.”

He said the relief activity was not disseminated publicly, and many goods would remain unclaimed, thus “tempting and goading” PESO-municipal personnel to help themselves with the unclaimed food packs a week after, when OWWA personnel had gone home.

OFWs “delisted, stripped of membership, status”

Bombase said he is not in the list, and 9 (nine) other OFWs belonging to his family are not included in the list.

Albert Ramos, an outpatient dialysis patient, said his son, Benedict, a seaman working in an international luxury liner is not included in the list. Other Ramos family members, who had been OFWs, are also not in the list.

Other OFWs presented themselves during the relief, and were disappointed when their names were not in the list.

Teacher Sol Pilapil Adan, who had worked in Morocco and returned back home last year is not included in the masterlist. Sol’s husband is still working in Morocco.

A member of the Palma family, noted by the town as a family of OFWs, and other claimants who also presented themselves, bringing with them documents attesting to their legitimacy as OFWs, were not included in the list.

OWWA arrogance, practitioners of “un-transparency”

Three (3) OWWA staffers claiming to be Region 5 personnel, who distributed the relief goods, were noted for their arrogance. They brushed off any moves for correction and ignored the pleas of “delisted” OWWA members.

Ignoring the challenge for public transparency, the OWWA staffers refused to present their IDs and one staffer refused to give his name.

This reporter of BicolToday.com “christened” one staff as “John Doe” for refusing to reveal his name.

The other two (2) staffs were identified later as “Cecile Foraque” and the third was “Dominic Sanchez”. They did not state their positions and refused to cite their assigned tasks and missions.

Bombase, a senior citizen, was angered by the arrogance and “unprofessional attitude” shown by the OWWA staff to questioning members.

Many “delisted” members were present during the relief, but were not given respect and attention by OWWA personnel.

Stripped of status as “OFW heroes”

OWWA staff had told “delisted” OWWA members that its data base is “absolutely true and correct” and, if they are not listed, they are not OWWA members, thus denying their status as “overseas Filipino worker (OFW) heroes”.

According to Bombase, these remarks by OWWA personnel have hurt the feelings of “delisted” OWWA members, and have negated their contributions to the national economy as much-publicized “OFW heroes”.

Tigaon typhoon “Nina” relief beneficiaries: 500 only, none to 4,000 OFWs

The Thursday relief operation was the second tranche of OWWA relief operation for victims of “Typhoon Nina” December 26, 2016. The first tranche was May, 2017, when OWWA distributed relief goods only to 400 members in Tigaon, and this week, 101 beneficiaries, a total of 500 plus.

Lagonoy town boasted of 4,000 beneficiaries, a claim that fueled speculation that the numbers were “bloated” by local politicians to benefit supporters.

Need to probe OWWA, fund spending, audit

Bombase and other “delisted” OWWA members are wondering if the OWWA data base is still secured of integrity and protected from manipulation by its top officials.

Bombase said billions of pesos of OWWA funds are in the hands of OWWA officials and at the flick of a finger, these money will flow into the pockets of “questionable beneficiaries” who have taken the place of legitimate, but “delisted” OWWA members.

He urged the Congress and Senate to investigate, in aid of legislation, on how OWWA spend the contributions of OFW members which have reached to billions of pesos.

He wants the investigation to go deeper if OWWA officials have been “manipulating” the data-base to “justify” spending and why OWWA has been secretly organizing OFW chapters in “every barangay”.

“Every OWWA member has the right to know on how their contributions are being spent,” Bombase insisted.

He estimated that about 10 million are OWWA members nationwide, and more than 4 million are active members, and each member has contributed USD25 (Php 1,200) every time they leave the country, either from new job contract or “returning back-to-work” from vacation. [BicolToday.com]

Posted by on October 21, 2017. Filed under Bicol News,Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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