DOLE seeks P2.5 billion more cash aid for OFWs displaced by pandemic
Robie de Guzman • July 6, 2020 • 296
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is seeking to get additional budget for its cash assistance program for the growing number of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
DOLE said that as of July 4, its overseas offices and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) have recorded a total of 551,606 aid applications from land-based and sea-based workers who are either still in host countries or have already returned to the Philippines.
“The fund released to us is fast depleting. So far, our offices approved the requests of 224,756 OFWs, 128,348 of whom are still locked down or stranded in their countries of work,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement.
The agency had been given P2.5 billion in two tranches to finance its Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program, a one-time cash aid of $200 or P10,000 to help Filipino workers displaced by the pandemic. The budget for the program came from the emergency fund under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
Of the 250,000 expected beneficiaries of the program, around 188,473 have already received the cash aid from DOLE as of July 4 amounting to some P1.927 billion, DOLE said.
Of those who have received the aid, 105,756 are on-site while the remaining beneficiaries have returned to the country, it added.
With additional funding, AKAP will be able to extend emergency assistance to close to half a million OFWs, Bello said.
Bello hopes that President Rodrigo Duterte will grant their request to extend help to more OFWs in need.
MANILA, Philippines — Traumatized by the recent twin explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Glenda Viloria Padilla is calling on the Philippine government for help as she wants to return to her hometown as soon as possible.
Padilla was able to capture through video recording the impact of the said explosion.
“Sobrang lakas po halos lahat ng buong Beirut po yata nawasak (The explosion was so massive it practically tore down the entire Beirut),” Padilla said who is a native of La Union.
“Sa pangyayari po gusto na po naming umuwi kasi hindi na safe kasi mahirap na po (after what happened, we really want to leave and return home because it’s not safe here anymore),” she added.
She also shared some images of the damage the blast caused to her employer’s home.
Reports said two Filipinos died from the incident and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is closely coordinating with the Philippine Embassy in Beirut for updates.
The Embassy earlier issued an advisory calling affected Filipinos in the area to reach out to Embassy officials for assistance. MNP (with inputs from Toto Fabros)
MANILA, Philippines — Several groups of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) have expressed their gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte on his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Around 300 Filipinos representing several groups of OFWs from different countries met online and simultaneously watched the President’s SONA.
They said the chief executive did not let them down as he urged Congress “to pass a law establishing the Department of Overseas Filipino solely on addressing the concerns of Filipinos abroad and their families.”
Last March, the lower House passed the creation of the Department of Filipino Overseas and Foreign Deployment. The Senate, on the other hand, is still hearing the bill.
In his SONA, the President reiterated his commitment of support to OFWs.
He called on the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other agencies to allocate trainings and programs for OFWs.
With this, the United Filipino Global International thanked the president for his concern over them.
“The SONA speech of the president, I think we are very happy kasi alam naman po namin ang kaniyang intention. Ang kaniyang speech ay para talaga tumulong nang totoo na walang halong pamumulitiko,” said Gemma Sotto, chairperson of United Filipino Global International. — (from the report of Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf
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