No to GMA 'yes-man' in OWWA Board of Trustees sign now

We say NO to the arbitrary and biased selection of the Land-based OFW representative to OWWAs Board of Trustees
20 August 2009

We, concerned organizations and individual overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from various countries around the world express our strongest opposition to the arbitrary and biased selection of the land-based OFW representative to the Board of Trustees of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) by Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

We believe that the selection of Mr. Joselito Jojo Sapio, the campaign manager of GMA in Hong Kong, is a politically-motivated decision that only serves to consolidate GMAs hold over OWWA and its fund, and will further deny OFWs of much-needed services and financial assistance. The elevation of Mr. Sapio to the Board of Trustees will surely increase the hold of the Arroyo government over the P12-billion OWWA Fund that is from the toils of Filipino migrant workers.

Mr. Sapio headed the campaign of GMA during the presidential elections in 2004. He is known as the founder of GMA Pa Rin Movement and of GMAs ticket, Team Unity, in the 2007 elections. After the election, he changed the name of his group but it is still very much linked to the current administration.

During GMAs frequent visits to Hong Kong, Mr. Sapio is known to have organized or participated in events held in her honor, such as the most recent one in June. That unexpected side trip was projected to the media as a consultation-meeting with OFWs but, in reality, was meant to merely celebrate Mike Arroyos birthday.

For the past years, OWWA has consistently been questioned with regard to the management and allocation of its funds. One of the most controversial issues involved the transfer of the OWWA Medicare Fund to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in 2004. This was made after Health Sec. Francisco Duque (then head of PhilHealth) wrote to PGMA endorsing the transfer, saying such would have a significant impact on the impending election at that time.

Now that the election is again nearing, we fear that OWWAs money will again be used for purposes not related to providing concrete welfare services to OFWs.

We are aware of the controversies surrounding many appointments of PGMA from Supreme Court justices to National Artist awardees. We are alarmed that this trend of rewarding trusted allies has now been extended to an OFW post.

We thus demand the following:
Recall the appointment of Mr. Joselito Jojo Sapio to the OWWA Board of Trustees. Conduct a more impartial, transparent and independent selection process for the land-based OFW representative;
Increase the number of OFW representatives to the OWWA Board and reduce those from the government. It is irregular to have a very small OFW representation in the Board considering that the OWWA fund is from, and for OFWs;
Make the OWWA work concretely for the welfare needs of OFWs and their families by scrapping the OWWA Omnibus Policies and promulgating a pro-OFW Charter. The OWWA Fund should never be used for the personal and political agenda of a few.

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Joy TerrellBy:
Nature and EnvironmentIn:
Petition target:
All overseas Filipinos and their families and advocates


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