Labor group Confederation for Unity Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) still has not acted on a request by a former official of Social Welfare Employees Association of the Philippines (SWEAP) for a full accounting of the membership dues collected by of COURAGE.
In a press conference, Audrie Perez, former president of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Region 11 (Davao Region) SWEAP, said they have been asking COURAGE to account on how the monthly dues paid by their members were used.
COURAGE’s inaction, among other issues, prompted SWEAP to break away from the group on January 14, 2021.
Perez, who is the former focal person for indigenous peoples of DSWD Region 11, said SWEAP was under the umbrella of COURAGE for 20 years and had thousands of members who regularly paid membership dues.
“During the time of former national president Mr. Larry Baclagon, now the secretary-general of COURAGE, we were looking for a report. Where did the association funds go? They cannot find it,” Perez said in Filipino.
He clarified that though he is no longer connected with SWEAP nor the DSWD Region 11 as he resigned from his job as the regional IP focal person effective March 15, he gets updates from fellow SWEAP members.
Perez, who also resigned as president of SWEAP Davao Chapter and as vice president for Mindanao, said his representation is based on his personal capacity, knowledge and experiences.
He said each of the more than 10,000 SWEAP members paid P5 monthly dues, of which P2 was remitted to COURAGE, and the remaining P3 goes to the SWEAP national council.
COURAGE, he claimed, has so many underground activities that most members do not know.
With money issues hounding COURAGE, Perez said he believes the SWEAP funds were used for the former’s underground activities like rallies, instead of for its members’ welfare.
As a government employee, he said, he cannot accept that funds coming from workers of the government, which came from government funds, are being used to destroy the very same government.
He added that they already made a formal request with the previous administration of SWEAP to issue full authority to an audit team that will look into the issue and COURAGE’s financial records.He went on to say that even the liquidation records of the funds in question are now missing. SOVEREIGNPH