Senator Roxas to POEA: Dig deeper into how Legacy schemes affected OFW trust fund

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today urged the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to dig deeper into how Legacy's double your money scheme put at risk the stability of the trust fund of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
"Walang patawad itong si Celso. Pati ang ating mga overseas workers ay niloko din niya (Celso de los Angeles would not even spare OFWs!)," lamented the chairman of the Senate trade and commerce committee, which is looking into the Legacy fund mess.

"Kailangang masiguro natin na may kakayahan ang mga recruitment agencies na nagpadala sa mga OFW sa abroad sakaling magkaroon sila ng problema sa kanilang mga trabaho (We have to make sure that these recruitment agencies can address the problems of these OFWs, should any arise)," he added.
The Ilonggo senator noted testimonies during the last committee hearing revealing that at least 144 recruitment agencies entrusted their escrow deposits at the Asia Trust bank, which in turn had inked an internal agreement with De los Angeles' Bank of Paranaque to double the amount of deposits.

POEA Dir. Melchor Dizon had told senators the agency requires all recruitment agencies to put up a P1 million escrow deposit in a bank, in this case the Asia Trust, to secure claims of workers in case the workers encounter problems or difficulties with their foreign employers. He said they have discovered that escrow deposits of Asia Trust's 144 agencies were all transferred to the Bank of Paranaque for a 20% per annum interest, with the authorization of the recruitment agencies.

The time deposits with Bank of Parañaque were secured by government securities, but Dizon said the securities have turned out to be insufficient, thus now forcing recruitment agencies to cough up additional money to complete their respective escrow funds.
"Sa huli, ang biktima dito ay ang mga OFWs (The OFWs are the victims here in the end)," he stressed.
He said the POEA, with the assistance of the Department of Justice, should determine if the recruitment agencies could be held liable for the insolvent state of the OFWs' trust fund.
"Kailangan nating malaman kung may kasalanan din dito ang mga recruitment agencies. Nakakolekta na sila ng 20% na interes sa kanilang mga deposito (We need to know if recruitment agencies are also at fault. After all, they already collected the 20% interest on their deposits)," he said.

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