280,000 OFWs received cash aid from government—DOLE

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 5, 2020   •   192

Almost 280,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have received cash aid, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Under the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP), DOLE has disbursed P2.853 billion in AKAP funds to both on-site and repatriated OFW beneficiaries as of October 2.

“The one-time financial grant to eligible OFWs whose employment was negatively impacted by COVID-19 was also ongoing in Israel where it has released its third tranche of DOLE-AKAP beneficiaries,” the Labor Department said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the government continues to monitor the number of COVID-19 cases among OFWs across the globe. AAC

Face-to-face classes will only be allowed upon Duterte, IATF approval – DepEd

Robie de Guzman   •   November 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education has stressed that it will only allow the conduct of face-to-face classes upon the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the government’s policy prohibiting in-person classes will remain amid the coronavirus pandemic, although the department is looking into the possibility of reintroducing face-to-face classes next year.

She said a report to be submitted to the president on the opening of classes and DepEd’s recommendations is being finalized.

“We are preparing a report for the President on our current experience with the opening of classes, at klaro naman na kung magkaroon ng face to face, it will be very limited to areas which are absolutely safe. There will be conditions from the Department of Health; there will also be conditions coming from us. Hindi po lahat-lahat, [hindi] sabay-sabay iyan na mag-face to face, kung payag si President,” Briones said.

“At saka, depende sa approach iyan, kasi iyong number of students, etc. So we are [also] now looking into that,” she added.

The school year opened last October 5 with blended forms of learning through self-learning modules, internet and TV- and radio-based instructions.

The DepEd chief also reiterated its earlier statement that it did not approve any localized and limited face-to-face learning workshops.

“Uulitin ko, definitely not this year at definitely walang mga arrangements right now with kung sinumang mga grupo na magpi-face to face at this time because the President has not made any pronouncement at all. Pero [patuloy kaming] magri-report kami sa kaniya,” Briones said.

Meanwhile, the Education chief also directed a study on reconceptualizing learning spaces post-COVID, which include not just classroom, but homes, community spaces, and virtual space.

Construction of PH’s first ever OFW hospital begins in Pampanga

Marje Pelayo   •   November 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A health facility dedicated to the country’s modern-day heroes — the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)— is set to rise in Pampanga. 

The 100-bed capacity hospital is set to rise on a two-hectare land donated by the provincial government of Pampanga specifically in the municipality of San Fernando.

The construction of the said health facility has been made possible with the P500 million donation of Bloomberry Cultural Foundation, Inc. (BCFI), an entity established by the operator of Solaire Resort and Casino.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) said that the soon-to-rise OFW hospital will immensely help the country’s modern-day heroes who endure homesickness just to provide for their families and keep the economy afloat.

“We will finally have this very first, modern and state-of-the-art health facility intended solely for the care and medical needs of our OFWs,” said PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo who graced the kick-off event on Thursday (November 26) along with other key government officials. 

BCFI President Donato Almeda said that many Filipinos rely on the OFW’s contribution to the national economy through their remittances. 

However, very little assistance or recognition is given to them when they finally return home to retire.

Secretary of Labor and Employment Silvestre Bello III, who also graced the event, expressed his gratitude to PAGCOR, BCFI and the provincial government of Pampanga for helping promote the welfare of overseas workers through their commitment to build the health facility. MNP / Beth Pilares

DOT slams ‘Halloween party’ in Boracay for violating physical distancing

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday slammed the Halloween party held recently at the Casa de Arte in Boracay for violating physical distancing protocols.

In a statement, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the department supports the recommendation of the Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group to close down the erring establishment.

Puyat also said the resort lacked business permit and necessary clearances as determined by the authorities.

She also reminded local government units (LGUs), business establishments, and guests in the island to strictly observe the duly prescribed health and safety guidelines as determined by the Interagency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

“The jobs and livelihoods that were recently restored in these sites will be affected once again if an outbreak occurs in the area due to the LGU’s negligence. We urge our LGUs to please take our health and safety protocols seriously,” she said. AAC

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