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Senators want to prohibit Commission on Migrant Filipinos from collecting Php400 registration fee from OFWs

Senators are pushing for the inclusion of a provision in the proposed 2022 national budget that would prohibit the Commission on Migrant Filipinos from collecting Php 400 registration fee.

The proposal came after the commission failed to explain to lawmakers the legal basis of its collection of Php 400 in registration fee from emigrants who want to benefit from its programs.

Senator Sonny Angara asked for the commission on the basis of the registration fee. The Senate is now looking at the agency’s proposed Php139.133 million budget for 2022.

CFO Secretary Francisco Acosta deferred to administrative and finance director Mario Garcia, who in turn passed the buck to another official.

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The move irked Senator Joel Villanueva.

“Nakakatatlong pasahan na kayo ng bola, pwede bang isa na lang ‘yong sasagot,” Villanueva said.

“You can’t just collect because you want to collect,” he pointed out.

The commission said that the registration came from a resolution demanding departing Filipinos to pay for the registration.

“Again, the question remains unanswered. Like the OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration), they charge, I think $25, for OFWs who depart and that goes toward an OWWA trust fund. That answers for repatriation, training of OFWs when they lose their job and they return — and the basis of that is the OWWA Charter,” Angara said.

“The reason why these people are leaving is because they have no money and they have no jobs here in the Philippines…yet we are imposing all these on them,” he added.

The commission defended by saying that they have been receiving unqualified opinion from the Commission on Audit.

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“You know the money that have been given to us, we are given an unqualified opinion on it — we spend the money in a very nice way. Not many agencies are given unqualified opinion by the COA,” the CFO chief said.

Another official cited the Batas Pambansa No.79 as the basis for the resolution.

But Senator Frank Drilon said that it does not state the collection of registration fees.

“Right now, we couldn’t see any reason why CFO would have that power to collect any fee. Pahirap po ito,” Drilon said.

The veteran lawmaker then proposed to prohibit CFO from collecting fees.

“Because it is not found in any law, anyway. This appears to be unauthorized,” he added. (TDT)

Staff Report

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