A party-list lawmaker claimed that the Aquino administration did not allot a fund for legal assistance for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the 2016 national budget.
Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon cited the budget documents which had a “conspicuous absence” of any appropriation for the Legal Assistance Fund (LAF).
Under the LAF, the government is mandated to provide P100 million every year for legal assistance for OFWs. Around P30 million should come from the national budget.
Because of this, Ridon says OFWs have to beg Philippine embassies and consulates for help each time they need legal assistance.
The budget submitted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to the House of Appropriations Committee stated a balance of P55,878,233.63 in LAF valid until December 31, 2016.
The LAF is used for legal expenses, airfare, retainer fee, translation service, filing fee, repatriation, basic necessities, medical expenses, immigration fees/overstay penalties, travel to visit OFW conduct consulate assistance, etc.