ACTS OFW Party-list Representative Aniceto “John” Bertiz III slammed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III over his claim that all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have an iDole OFW card that could used to facilitate government transactions in the Philippines.
At a press conference on Thursday, July 12, Bertiz challenged Bello to accompany him to the airport and ask OFWs if they do have an iDole ID.
The said ID could be used by OFWs for easier transactions with government agencies in the country. It can also serve as an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) and a reloadable beep card for train rides.
"Secretary, tara po sa airport. Hanap tayo ng mga OFWs na papaalis. Ilan ba sa kanila ang may hawak ng iDole card? At ilan doon sa may hawak ang may cards na talagang gumagana? OEC pa rin po ang hawak ng mga papaalis na OFWs," said Bertiz.
He said the ID project was proposed by the ACTS OFW Party-list and was funded by the OFWs.
Bertiz also slammed Bello for saying that all the repatriated OFWs receive a financial assistance worth P20,000 for livelihood and all their children are given scholarships by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
"Sir, please check your figures. Ilan po sa mga napauwi ninyo mula Kuwait at Saudi Arabia ang may mga anak na OWWA scholars? Hindi lahat. Hindi kalahati. Iilan lang. Dahil ang totoo, limitado rin ang pondo ng OWWA para sa scholarships," Bertiz said.
Bertiz' tirades against Bello stemmed from the accusation of the latter that the OFW solon is not looking into the Department of Labor and Employment and the Duterte government's programs for OFWs.
"Baka hindi nag-aaral si Congressman Bertiz. Ang dami na naming nagagawa para sa mga OFW," Bello said as quoted by Bertiz.
According to the lawmaker, Bello stated this after PCOO Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan said during the second pre-Sona forum held at the PICC that Bertiz questioned the projects of the Duterte administration for the OFWs.
Ablan and Bello have yet to react to the Bertiz' accusations. (Keith A. Calayag/SunStar Philippines)