Friday, July 28, 2006

Evacuation Mess Turning ala "P700M Fertilizer Scam"

News Release
July 28, 2006

The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) Labor Center is worried that the evacuation funds for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in Lebanon is turning like the infamous "P700M Fertilizer Scam", wherein the money never reach the supposed beneficiary.

"The developing story behind evacuation mess is very smelly and similar to the "P700M Fertilizer Scam" but on a more grandiose scale, involving P8 billions of OFWs' money. We will not be surprised if the name of Gloria Arroyo will be implicated in this mess based on her track record of corruption," said Nenita "Ka Nitz" Gonzaga, Secretary of the KMU Women's Department.

The infamous P700M Fertilizer Funds were supposedly for farm inputs but it never reached the hands of our farmers but was used instead as grease money for House of Representative members to kill the impeachment bid against Arroyo. The veteran labor leader also supported the moves by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada to dig deeper in the evacuation mess.

"We think both houses should investigate because this P8.1B is not government money but came from the blood and sweat of our toiling workers abroad and to make proper accounting of this hard-earned money is the least they can do, "opined Gonzaga .

"The earlier the better so as to locate where the stench is coming from and whose pockets are involved."

"While our countrymen are being shelled everyday in Lebanon, the finger-pointing between OWWA officials and Philippine Embassy in Lebanon continues. OWWA officials argue that there is money, while those in Lebanon state another story. If there is no problem with funds, show us the money," stated Gonzaga.

Gonzaga also criticized the government for being too stingy when it comes to the safety of our OFW's. "The OWWA has P 8.1B funds available but we are wondering why only a measly P150 million are made available. There are more than 30,000 Filipinos needed to be evacuated and P150M is far from enough." According to estimates the P150M is enough to cover only 3,000 or almost 10% of the total Filipinos in Lebanon. ###

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