OWWA to roll out group livelihood program for OFWs next month

Marje Pelayo   •   August 26, 2020   •   941

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)

Over 350k overseas Filipinos repatriated since Feb. 2020—DFA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Over 350,000 overseas Filipinos (OFs) have been repatriated since February 2020, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The DFA reported it has repatriated 4,549 OFs in the last week of January 2021, reaching a total of 356,126 OFs since the department began its repatriation program in February of last year.

Among the recently repatriated are undocumented OFs from Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Jordan and China. There were also three distressed OFs from Indonesia and one OF with a medical condition.

“Out of the total number we brought home this week, 692 were seafarers while 3,857 were land-based OFWs,” the DFA said.

The DFA also reiterated that it continues to coordinate with Philippine government agencies, airlines, and other private companies on the repatriation program for overseas Filipinos. AAC

OFWs for repatriation decide to stay after getting COVID-19 vaccine shot – Bello

Marje Pelayo   •   January 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III reported that some overseas Filipino workers (OFW) have taken back their decision to fly home to the Philippines after getting a shot of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine.

Most of them who preferred to stay are OFWs in the Middle East.

Bello said they believe they would have greater chances to get another job since they were already vaccinated. 

“Mayroong mga almost about 100,000 who applied for repatriation. Iyon ang nire-repatriate pa natin,” Bello noted.

“Nabigla kami bilang mayroon siguro around 60% of those who asked for repatriation suddenly changed their minds and said, “No, hindi na kami uuwi”. Tinanong natin kung bakit, iyon pala na-vaccinate na sila,” he added.

The Department of Labor and Employment has, so far, logged around 420,000 repatriated overseas Filipinos since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around 60,000 OFWs are on queue for repatriation this year and the agency still has a P5-B fund for this from President Rodrigo Duterte. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

PH quarantine facility enough for returning OFWs – OWWA

Marje Pelayo   •   January 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – An average of 1,500 to 2,500 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) return to the Philippines every single day. 

According to Overseas Workers Welfare Administrator (OWWA) Hans Leo Cacdac, there are currently about 6,000 OFWs serving 14-day mandatory quarantine in designated hotels in the country.

This number is on top of around 3,000 OFWs who returned from the countries covered by the current travel ban imposed by the Philippines.

“So mga 9,000 ngayon mga OFW sa hotels natin. Kakayanin naman so far.  Managed naman ito between OWWA, Coast Guard, at saka ng Bureau of Quarantine yung pananatili ng mga OFWs doon,” Cacdac said.

The official said so far, all designated quarantine facilities can still hold returning OFWs since previous occupants are leaving once their quarantine is served.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has not yet included the United Arab Emirates (UAE) into the country’s travel ban list and OWWA is expecting a surge in OFWs in quarantine facilities.

“Medyo malaki ang madaragdag pero kakayanin naman ito,” Cacdac said.

“Meron kaming isa pa doon sa technical working group ng IATF noong isang araw na may two weeks na pagmamanman ng sitwasyon. So hopefully after the two-week period makapagbigay ulit  tayo ng assessment,” he added.

Aside from the UAE, OWWA expressed concern once Saudi Arabia is included in the travel ban considering that it has the largest population of overseas Filipinos. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

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