DOLE targets send off of remaining OFWs in quarantine facilities this week

Marje Pelayo   •   May 29, 2020   •   581

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is doubling its efforts to finally send off all the remaining overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in government quarantine facilities in Metro Manila. 

To date, DOLE has sent around 19,000 OFWs and according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, hopefully they will be able to send home the rest of them within this week.

Likewise, Bello apologized to all stranded OFWs for their prolonged stay in quarantine facilities. 

To address the matter, DOLE set up a command center at its central office in Manila to facilitate the gathering of all the necessary information regarding arriving OFWs.

Inaasahan natin with this center hindi na po mauulit ang nangyari sa ating mga minamahal sa buhay [We hope that with this center, what happened to our loved ones will not be repeated],” Bello said. 

“They do not deserve this to happen to them. And I repeat I am very sorry to our OFWs,” the Labor Chief added.

The command center is open 24/7 to accept inquiry and to assist all OFWs.

Also, inquiry may be directed to www.commancenter.dole.gov.ph.

Bello reported that there are still around 300,000 stranded OFWs in different parts of the globe, around 62,000 of them have signified their intention for repatriation. 

DOLE expects the arrival of some 42,000 OFWs by the end of May and June. 

Bello promised a faster quarantine process by administering COVID-19 tests to OFWs’ prior to their departure from their country of origin. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

OFWs exempted from travel ban on countries with new COVID-19 strain cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in countries with a travel ban from the government are exempted and will be allowed to enter the Philippines, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

In a press conference on Tuesday (December 29), Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said President Rodrigo Duterte wants OFWs to be able to return to their families.

Bello said returning OFWs would need to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Some 60,000 to 100,000 OFWs are expected to return in the next two weeks, he added.

Duterte, on Monday (December 28), approved the imposition of travel ban on countries with confirmed reports of the new strain of COVID-19. The travel ban will take effect on December 30 at 12:01 a.m. until January 15. AAC

DOLE’s TUPAD program pays P4.5-B to nearly 1 million workers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 29, 2020

The Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) cash-for-work program has provided emergency employment to close to one million workers.

As of December 28 under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program, 939,209 informal sector workers hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and those affected by the successive typhoons last month, received assistance.

More than P4.5 billion in wages in just close to two months was provided by the program to the informal sector workers.

Beneficiaries of the program are paid for work done for a minimum of 10 days to a maximum of 16 days based on the threshold requirements in the area.

Bureau of Workers with Special Concern (BWSC) director Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla said that 797,222 beneficiaries had been paid while 141,989 have ongoing jobs.

Trayvilla said TUPAD may reach more than one million beneficiaries with more funds still available from the P6-billion appropriation under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).

The National Capital Region topped the regions with the biggest TUPAD fund allocations with P923.9 million. It was followed by CALABARZON with P593.2 million, and Central Luzon with P587.1 million. AAC

DOLE eyes completion of COVID-19 aid distribution next week

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday expressed confidence that it will be able to meet the deadline for the distribution of the cash assistance for workers affected by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, the DOLE said more than 93% of the P16-billion allocation for the assistance to workers in the formal and informal sectors, including overseas Filipino workers (OFW), has been downloaded to the department’s regional and overseas offices.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the early release of the funds for the beneficiaries of the assistance programs under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) will enable the department to meet the deadline before the law expires on December 19.

The assistance includes financial aid under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) and Abot Kamay Ang Pagtulong (AKAP) Program; emergency employment under Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) Program; and livelihood assistance under DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP), the department said.

Of the released funds, P7.4 billion was allocated for CAMP, which is a safety-net program that offers financial support to workers in private establishments that have adopted flexible work arrangements or temporary closure during the pandemic.

Under this program, affected workers, regardless of their employment status, will be receiving one-time financial assistance equivalent to P5,000.

DOLE said it has recently adopted an online application system to fast-track the processing of CAMP applications.

Bello advised workers and establishments in the private sector to apply online through this link.

As for TUPAD, total of P4.9 billion has been allocated under Bayanihan 2. It aims to provide temporary wage employment to workers in the informal sector who were displaced or whose earnings were affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help OFWs financially, DOLE said it has also been extending a one-time P10,000 or $200 cash aid under the AKAP program to OFWs whose incomes were affected by the pandemic.

A total of P1.8 billion financial aid was allocated for OFWs who were repatriated and who are onsite.

Bello said the labor department has streamlined the process of AKAP applications following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to enable more OFWs to benefit from the one-time cash assistance.

OFWs who will be repatriated to the Philippines may file their AKAP application before they arrive in the country, and receive their benefits within three to five days upon submission of complete documents.

Meanwhile, P132-million was allotted for the DILP or Kabuhayan Program which provides sustainable self-employment through easy-to-learn livelihood activities.

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