First posted 01:09am (Mla time)
June 10, 2005 Inquirer News Service
Editor's Note: Published on page A16 of the June 10, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
LIKE what we have been suspecting all along, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's coterie of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) officials have been living the high life.
The painful thing for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) is: These officials have rewarded themselves with so many unnecessary perks paid for with funds from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).The POEA's illegal withdrawal of P24.048 million from the OFW trust funds at OWWA to grant "incentive allowance" to the agency's top bureaucrats does not in any way help OFWs and their families.
The Commission on Audit has said that such use of OWWA funds is unauthorized. POEA officials have the gall to do this because President Arroyo dispenses perks that easily, too.POEA executives were issued mobile phones and they downloaded about P796,000 worth of games, ring tones, picture messages and other unauthorized items.
The POEA incurred other charges amounting to P308,747.58 in the use of the mobile phones, in addition to the fixed charges of P400,002.80 for subscription to Globe lines or plans.Other charges, personal and easily incurred and billed due to the nature of line subscription, included share-a-load and its processing fee, GPRS such as Globe games, photo messages, polyphonic ring tones, digital postcards, photo album, cinema and magazine covers, premium java download, instant messaging and catxtcism, etc.