Palace disputes Nancy Binay’s claim on OFW legal fund
The Department of Budget and Management has disputed Sen. Nancy Binay’s claim that the administration did not allot funds for the legal assistance of troubled overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the proposed 2016 national budget.
In a statement, the DBM on Wednesday pointed out that the legal aid fund (LAF) allocation is “present as a line item in the proposed budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs under Foreign Policy Services.”
With the allocation, “our OFWs will continue to have access to crucial legal assistance,” said the agency.
“This is contrary to statements made by Sen. Binay, who claimed that next year’s proposed budget did not appropriate funds for this purpose,” it emphasized.
The department also denied the senator’s allegation that the OFW legal assistance fund has been dwindling since last year.
It noted that Republic Act 10022, which amended the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995, mandated the creation of the LAF, intended for OFWs facing charges, litigation expenses, court fees and bail bonds. The law further directed the government to appropriate no less than P30 million each year for the legal aid fund.
According to the DBM, the LAF allocation in the 2015 General Appropriations Act was increased to P100 million.
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