Philippines – A group of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Saudi Arabia have said their nominee for the top post of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is still in the running.
“Allow us to clarify that Dr. Carlito Astillero has not withdrawn his nomination,” Manuel Amora, secretary-general of the OFW Congress in Riyadh, said in an e-mail GMANews.TV.
Amora said Astillero’s letter to his campaigners and supporters, which was the basis of a news report that he has withdrawn from the race, was only meant to thank everyone for their support.
Astillero’s e-mail read: “Thank you for all the support. I cannot forget your efforts although everybody knows what would be the outcome. As I told you from the beginning we have a very slim chance of being appointed.”
Astillero wrote the letter to his campaigners as speculation spread that former Surigao del Sur congressman Prospero Pichay Jr, an ally of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was already appointed OWWA administrator.
The rumored appointment was caused by a faulty memorandum issued by Malacañang Palace addressing Pichay as OWWA administrator. The correspondence office of the President dismissed the matter as a “wrong address.”
Last week, the OWWA Search Committee headed by former Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas was reported to have excluded Pichay from its shortlist of seven names, after which the Palace announced that Pichay was being appointed chairman of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).
Reports said that Pichay really wanted the OWWA position but was forced to back down because of many objections to his appointment.
Meanwhile, Filipino workers in Riyadh are hopeful that the President will heed their calls of appointing somebody from the migrant workers’ circle to the controversial post.
“In the meantime, we the OFW community leaders in KSA and around the globe are determined to continue our fight that a true bloodied OFW will be given a hand in the affairs of OWWA,” said Amora.
It was not known if Astillero is among the seven names in the OWWA short list. – GMANews.TV