Bicolano ex-OFW urges Duterte, solons to tap OWWA-OFW fund to rebuild Marawi City; purchase communication satellite | BICOL TODAY

Bicolano ex-OFW urges Duterte, solons to tap OWWA-OFW fund to rebuild Marawi City; purchase communication satellite

Lorenzo “Larry” Lagatic Bombase Jr. in his job site in Alkhaladiah Palace, Saudi Arabia in 1994. Contributed Photo

By Joey Natividad

TIGAON, Camarines Sur – Two billion pesos to rebuild Marawi City, and 14 billion pesos to purchase communication satellite to jump-start the Philippines into “orbit of faster internet speed” – this is how a former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) of this town thinks on how the OFW Fund collected by OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) must be spent.

Lorenzo “Larry” Lagatic Bombase, Jr. is urging President Duterte, and legislators in the House and Senate, to tap the billion-peso workers fund collected by OWWA to rebuild Marawi City, and to pay for a communication satellite to “jumpstart” the country into faster internet speed.

Bombase has estimated that, in the last 35 years, OWWA has been collecting money from outbound OFW, a conservative estimate of more than 16 billion pesos have been collected, but OWWA has not made public about how much and where does the money is being spent.

“Billions of pesos have been collected from OFWs and what did OWWA do with the money?,” Bombase said, explaining that for every departure of an OFW, either outbound first-timer or back-to-work vacationer, he must shell out USD25 or Php1,200 to OWWA as contribution to the workers fund being administered by OWWA.

“I heard that the fund has ballooned to billions of pesos, but OWWA is not spending the money to benefit the OFWs and their families, but if it did, the beneficiaries are few and selected, as form of “showcase” achievement,” he told Bicol in a follow-up interview.

Bombase was first interviewed by Bicol on October 19 when OWWA gave out relief goods to only 101 OWWA members listed in Tigaon, but it was then discovered that OWWA has “delisted” an estimated number of 4,000 OFWs from the town’s master list.

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Bombase narrated that his family clan has 11 OFWs, but they did not receive a single centavo as form of OWWA benefit. His family is a close relative of former Senator Edmundo Bombase Cea, a prominent legislator in the 1960s.

“I was a victim of violence in Saudi, a fracture in the chest, but OWWA never reimburse me for my expenses despite of documents submitted to the agency as it had demanded,” Bombase said, narrating how he started working in the Middle East in 1994.

By contributing Php 2 billion, coming from the OFW fund, to rebuild Marawi City, and another 14 billion pesos from the same fund as form of OFW contribution to the national government to purchase a communication satellite, our OFWs shall leave a deep mark on the nation’s advance toward progress, Bombase said.

“The Philippines has the lowest internet speed among Asean countries, and one of those few countries which haven’t purchased or owned a communication satellite,” said Bombase.

“If the national government cannot afford or cannot raise the huge amount to buy or launch a communication satellite, it can utilize the OFW fund being kept by OWWA,” Bombase stressed his point. “At least, the people will know that the workers fund will be used meaningfully to rebuild Marawi City and to push the country into efficiency in “cyber-orbit”. []

Posted by on November 16, 2017. Filed under Bicol News,Top Stories. 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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