GMA News Online
Pinoy Abroad

Pichay appointed as head of waterworks agency

August 27, 2008 5:14pm
MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can now heave a collective sigh of relief.

Former Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay, who was supposed to have been eyed by Malacańang as head of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), has been appointed chairman of the board of the Local Waterworks and Utilities Administration (LWUA).

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita confirmed Pichay’s appointment to the LWUA post in an interview with reporters on Wednesday.

“In due time we will make an official announcement. He has an appointment but we are just following the usual procedure of getting the final clearance from the President, but yes there is a contemplation of appointing him as chairman of the LWUA board," Ermita told reporters.said.

Asked if the appointment paper had been signed, he said: “I was told there is. I think it's in the private office."

Pichay’s rumored appointment as OWWA chief caused a stir among OFWs, who are worried that the welfare fund for migrant workers could be used for political purposes. Pichay has reportedly made known his plans to seek political office in the next elections again.

Despite being the biggest spender in the 2007 senatorial elections and running under the well-funded administration coalition of President Arroyo, Pichay failed to make it to the winning 12.

Earlier this month, OFW groups expressed dismay after receiving a letter from the Malacańang addressing Pichay as OWWA administrator. The palace later dismissed that as a case of “wrong addressee."

Last week, the OFW group Global Filipino Nation said it learned from former Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas that Pichay’s name was excluded from the OWWA Search Committee’s shortlist that was submitted to President Arroyo.

Pichay will replace Proceso Domingo, currently the chairman of LWUA in an acting capacity.

The LWUA, whose main office is located at Balara in Quezon City, is a specialized lending institution that promotes and oversees the development of provincial waterworks.

Recently, LWUA’s domestic and foreign borrowing authority was proposed to be extended to $900 million, upon the approval of Department of Finance and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Kimberly Jane Tan, GMANews.TV