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OFW Group Calls for Return of P13M Overcharged by POEA
Migrante International has another bone to pick with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
The Commission on Audit (CoA) recently released its report on the POEA’s “Balik Manggagawa Program” and implied that the agency has been overcharging overseas Filipino workers by at least P13 million ($ 302,326 ).
In its 2010 report on the POEA, the auditing institution said the former and its adjunct offices in the various Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (Polo) in 27 countries worldwide used arbitrary rates of exchange in charging the Balik Manggagawa processing fees. In the guidelines of the POEA, the fees were only supposed to amount to P100 ($2.32) or the foreign currency equivalent.
According to the CoA, Polo collections in 2010 amounted to P40.207 million ($ 930, 233). If the Polo offices followed the guidelines strictly and collected only the equivalent of P100 ($2.32) from OFWs, the total collection should only have amounted to P26.945 million ($ 627, 907) from 269,454 OFWs. The CoA report went on to declare that there were “total excess charges” amounting to P13.262 million ($ 302,325); this was P960,615 ($ 22,348) more than what was excessively charged in 2009.
The CoA said that even as it was admitted that the excess charges were beneficial to the government as it was the allegedly the sole beneficiary of the over-collection, OFWs – particularly the low-salaried workers – were deprived of enjoying the much lower actual rates.
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