COA flags OWWA for low use of P88-M OFW livelihood fund
MANILA, Philippines – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) was flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) for using only 31 percent of its P88.45 million livelihood fund for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) groups.
According to COA’s audit report of OWWA for 2018, only P27.88 million was used by the 17 Regional Welfare Offices (RWO) for the Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Pag-Unlad ng Samahang OFWs (Tulong PUSO) program.
The low utilization rate was due to “time constraints, lack of manpower, and inability of OFWs to comply with requirements” given by OWWA’s RWOs.
Tulong PUSO was approved by OWWA’s mother unit, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). It was envisioned to be a “one-time grant assistance in the form of raw materials, equipment, tools and jigs, and other support services” in support the creation, improvement, or restoration of the OFW groups’ livelihood projects.
“It also aims to capacitate OFW groups to venture into livelihood undertaking through the conduct of enterprise development training and other social preparation interventions,” COA said.
At least P55.25 million have been refunded to the central office while there is still a balance of P5.31 million with RWOs. P4.25 million of this balance is with the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), while the remaining P1.06 million is with the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
COA’s data also shows all of the RWOs having received P5 million worth of funds, with the exception of Central Luzon and the Caraga Region. Central Luzon received P8.850 million in funds.
Most of Central Luzon RWO’s funds, amounting to P7.149 million, were used while over P1.7 million were refunded to the central office.
COA has advised OWWA to inform DOLE of the problems and issues it had encountered that caused the low utilization of the fund.
“We recommended that Management […] require the Directors of the RWOs to cause the settlement/refund of the unutilized funds to OWWA-CO, for subsequent refund to the DOLE-CO,” COA added.
COA said OWWA has assured that the P55 million balance will be returned to the DOLE’s central office,
Utilization reports of calamity fund
Aside from this, COA also mentioned that 85.52 percent of the fund released for OFW families affected by natural and man-made calamities, specifically Super Typhoon “Yolanda,” the Bohol earthquake, and the Marawi City siege, have been used or about P79.51 million out of the P92.97 million fund.
COA said OWWA has submitted utilization reports, but these were not supported with disbursement vouchers and other required documents.
The funds were intended for cash grants to families with active OFW members affected by the Bohol quake and Typhoon “Yolanda” in 2013. It was also used to generate jobs under the Cash for Work Assistance Program.
The same programs were used during the Marawi City siege when parts of the city were held by members of the Islamic State (IS)-linked Maute Group.
“The Fund Utilization Report provided by OWWA-CO Accounting Division which showed the fund releases, utilization and balances in the records of the RWOs, as shown below, was not supported with copies of the Liquidation Vouchers stamped received by the Regional Audit Teams, for post- audit/validation of the expenses incurred,” COA said.
“The reported unutilized amount was subsequently returned by the concerned RWOs to OWWA-CO,” they added.
For the victims of the Bohol quake and “Yolanda,” Eastern Visayas received P28.96 million, where P24.68 million was utilized and P4.277 was untouched. Central Visayas meanwhile got P27.78 million — most of it used — with only P780 left as balance.
Western Visayas meanwhile got P1.5 million, P1.476 million of which was used, while the Bicol Region obtained and used all of the P52,830 funds.
For the assistance of members affected by the Marawi siege, the OWWA gave the ARMM P20.46 million but only P14.07 million was used. Northern Mindanao got P14.21 million, while P11.44 million was used.
“We recommended that Management require the concerned RWO Accountants to submit the Disbursement/Liquidation Vouchers to their respective Regional Audit Teams, for post-audit/verification before submitting a copy thereof to the OWWA-CO Accountant in support of the Fund Utilization Report,” the COA said. /muf
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