OVERSEAS Filipino workers (OFWs) are up in arms over the appointment of Mocha Uson as the new deputy administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) as they believe that it may result to those critical of the Duterte administration being “demonized”.
In a statement, Migrante International expressed concerns that Uson’s presence at OWWA may lead to the discrimination of OFWs that are critical of President Duterte.
“Duterte has appointed someone whose actions are contradictory to the mandate of OWWA to care for the welfare of all OFWs, regardless of their beliefs, and whose actions have been more detrimental than helpful to the interests of our OFWs,” said Migrante.
“We are extremely concerned that discriminatory practices in the delivery of services to our OFWs, who are not loyal to Duterte, will be rampant,” it added.
The OFW group also said Uson’s appointment signify that Duterte is more concerned in silencing his critics based in other countries instead of addressing their concerns.
“It is clear that Duterte is not serious in resolving the mounting problems facing our OFWs,” said Migrante.
“Uson’s active participation in discriminating against and demonizing OFW activists who are critical and outspoken about his policies, poor record, and criminal neglect in addressing their concerns, serves Duterte’s political agenda in silencing organized voices, who are defending their democratic rights,” added the group.
Migrante warned the arrival of Uson at OWWA may put at risk the funds of and for OFWs alone.
“Duterte is putting the hard earned money of OFWs at easy disposal of a government official with a record of wasting people’s money in purveying fake news and senseless junkets,” said Migrante.
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) chairman Bishop Ruperto Santos said Uson should do better as a government official now that she has been given a second chance.
Santos his group is praying that Uson will be more concerned of her mandate instead of her personal or political interests.
“With her second chance with government office, it is our prayer and hope that she would do better, always taking in consideration the welfare and well-being of our OFWs, sacrificing personal, or political party’s interest and setting aside self-aggrandizement,” said Santos.
Santos said the Church is ready to have a critical collaboration with Uson just like what they have been having with OWWA prior to her appointment.
“We, at CBCP-ECMI, is effective and transparent collaborator with the programs and directives of DOLE, OWWA, and POEA. We are very supportive to them and they are very cooperative with us. We find them very valuable and very helpful in promoting the rights and dignity of our OFWs,” he said.
“Taking her mandate for the services and for protection of our OFWs, she will find us very reliable partners. For the good of OFWs, we welcome her and let us work together, honestly, and harmoniously, for them,” he added.
On the heels of the appointment of Uson to the OWWA, poll watchdog group Kontra Daya expressed concerns that disqualified Duterte Youth party-list nominee Ronald Cardema may likewise be recycled and appointed to a new position in government.