In the recent Senate investigation re: OWWA Fund Row, Sen. Drilon is right that by virtue of the Migrant Workers Act, the OWWA had the “administration, control, and supervision of the repatriation fund”. The said Section 15 of the Republic Act 8042, III. Services, it says:
**The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), in coordination with appropriate international agencies, shall undertake repatriation of workers in cases of war, epidemic, disasters or calamities, natural or man-made, and other similar events without prejudice to reimbursement by the responsible principal or agency. However, in cases where the principal or recruitment agency can not be identified, all costs attendant to repatriation shall be borne by OWWA.
For this purpose, there is hereby created and established an emergency repatriation fund under the administration, control and supervision of the OWWA, initially to consist of One Hundred Million Pesos (P100,000,000.00), which shall be taken from the existing fund controlled and administered by the OWWA. Thereafter, such fund shall be provided for in the General Appropriation Act from year to year: Provided, that the amount appropriated shall in no case be less than One Hundred million pesos (P100,000,000.00), inclusive of outstanding balances. **
In the Omnibus Rules and Regulations implementing the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, XV-Repatriation of Filipino Migrant Workers, SEC. 59 (Emergency Repatriation Fund), pertinent provision are as follows:
** When repatriation becomes immediate and necessary, the OWWA shall advance the needed costs from the Emergency Repatriation Fund without prejudice to reimbursement by the deploying agency and/or principal, or the worker in appropriate cases.**
**In cases where the cost of repatriation shall exceed One hundred million pesos (P100,000,000.00), the OWWA shall make representation with the office of the President for immediate funding in excess of the amount.**
Good Luck! to OWWA Administrator Marianito Roque, Labor Secretary Arturo Brion, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban Conejos and Ambassador Bicharra.