OFWs in Lebanon flock to PH Embassy to register for mass repatriation

Marje Pelayo   •   December 26, 2019   •   1334

MANILA, Philippines – Thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) flocked to the Philippine Embassy in Beirut to avail of the free mass repatriation scheduled for February next year.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on its website said most of those who applied for repatriation were women with some children in tow.

“This free repatriation project is the Philippine Government’s response to the numerous requests received by the Embassy from Filipino workers who have long overstayed or have recently lost jobs and income opportunities as the country is suffering from economic and financial woes,” the DFA posted on its website.”

The Embassy announced the opportunity on December 3, 2019, then started the registration on December 15, 2019.

Since then, thousands of Filipinos living and working in Lebanon surged the Embassy along with their family members to register.

Applicants were informed to personally come to the Embassy to fill out forms and submit the necessary documents such as passports, birth certificates, and marriage certificates if married to avail of the one-time mass repatriation program.

The Philippine government assured to provide free air tickets and settle the penalties of those who will be issued clearance by the Lebanese immigration authorities prior to the repatriation.

OWWA to roll out group livelihood program for OFWs next month

Marje Pelayo   •   August 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has been affecting millions of Filipinos including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Based on data from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) presented by the Senate Committee on Labor Joel Villanueva in Tuesday’s (August 25) hearing, over 300,000 OFWs have been displaced by the pandemic.

With this, Senator Imee Marcos called for an increase in the credit assistance allowable for OFWs from the proposed P50,000 to P100,000.

However, OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said they will not be able to accommodate up to 200,000 OFWs who may avail of the assistance.

According to Cacdac, they may organize a business plan competition wherein they would choose the best business plan from participating OFWs who will be granted the benefits of the program.

OWWA is currently offering a repatriation grant under the micro startups for distressed workers worth P20,000.

Cacdac explained that 70 percent of those who availed the loan have committed the money to investments.

However, they have no data on the success rate of their businesses.

“Hindi tayo sigurado whether or not nag-prosper ang negosyo na iyon. We do have success stories. We do identify iyong success stories. We give them recognition but we do not have the full-pledged data, the complete data as to our success rate,” OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said.

Next month, OWWA is set to launch a group livelihood program wherein groups of OFWs may borrow from P150,000 to P1 million.

“Ang isang nakikita kasi namin, batay sa karanasan, malaki ang tsansa ng tagumpay kung grupo,” Cacdac explained.

“Kaya ang napagpasyahan ng OWWA Board, ay i-encourage ang group livelihood programs lalo na sa panahon ng pandemya. Baka mas matibay ang negosyo kung grupo po sila,” he added.

Cacdac also said that 60 percent of the 165,000 repatriated OFWs who have returned to their home regions, have applied for DOLE’s AKAP program which is a one-time cash assistance of P10,000.

OWWA targets to complete the distribution of aid to remaining OFWs from the supplemental budget it has received and the fund allocation from the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2.

Meanwhile, the labor department added that it has been updating its database and the profiling of repatriated OFWs for the matching of skills to help them find a new job in the country.

DOLE Undersecretary Joji Aragon said they are expecting the business process outsourcing or the BPO industry to absorb most of the OFWs, noting that 90-92 percent of the industry have already recovered from the effects of the pandemic. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

386 Filipinos repatriated from Lebanon to arrive in PH Monday – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   August 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Over 300 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) repatriated from Lebanon are set to arrive in the country on Monday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

In a statement, the DFA said the OFWs will land at Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport via a chartered flight.

The flight will also carry the remains of eight Filipinos, four of whom were killed in the recent explosions in Beirut Port.

DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. is expected to be present at the airport to receive the repatriates, the department said.

Other officials who are likely to join the Secretary are Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Brigido J. Dulay, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola, and DND Undersecretary Cesar B. Yano, the DFA added.

Over 136k OFWs sent home, DOLE says

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – More than 136,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) have been transported to their respective home provinces, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that the latest batch of 2,667 OFWs who were cleared of coronavirus disease was sent home on August 11.

This brings the total to 136,509 OFWs provided with a package of DOLE assistance since it started transporting OFWs en masse in May after undergoing tests and quarantine, Bello said.

The labor chief added that the department, with the help of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and other government agencies, have been providing OFWs with assistance including accommodation, food, transportation and coronavirus testing upon their arrival in the country.

This is aside from a one-time P10,000 or $200 aid under its Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program to OFWs affected by the pandemic, both on-site and stranded in the country.

Bello recently welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval of an additional P5 billion fund for its assistance program which will benefit more OFWs.

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