Gov't should get loans to stave off OWWA bankruptcy: lawmaker


Posted at Jun 25 2020 07:28 AM

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The government should borrow money for programs for migrant workers, a senator said Thursday after the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) warned of a "largely looming" bankruptcy due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Loans should be used for the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers, livelihood programs and stimulus package, said Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.

"Hindi baleng mawala iyong ating credit rating, ika nga pero, kailangan mangutang tayo para sa ganoon mabigyan natin ng stimulus, maibalik natin ang sigla ng ating ekonomiya," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(It doesn't matter if our credit rating goes down, we need to borrow money to provide stimulus, revive our economy.)

OWWA's fund is expected go down to P10 billion by the end of 2020, and plunge below P1 billion by the end of 2021 if OFWs continue to be displaced by the pandemic, agency administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said in a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

The agency's fund is now at P18.6 billion as OWWA shouldered repatriation costs, food and hotel accommodations during the quarantine of migrant workers, and cash aid, Cacdac told TeleRadyo.

The government expects some 100,000 OFWs to come home by year end, he said.

"Sa ngayon, tayo ay nasa maayos pa na katayuan, pero ang agam-agam natin ay sa hinaharap... Ang proteksyon ng pondo ang isinasaalang-alang," he said.

(For now, our standing is still good, but our worries are for the future. We are considering the protection of our fund.)

TeleRadyo, June 25, 2020