Nearly 86,000 displaced OFWs have received aid from DOLE
MANILA, Philippines — Close to 86,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been extended assistance under the Abot Kamay Ang Pagtulong (Akap) program of the labor department.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also said its Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in 40 posts across the globe and the offices of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in the country had already received 336,809 requests for assistance from both onsite and repatriated OFWs as of May 1.
Of the total applications, 85,849 OFWs were qualified and granted the onetime P10,000 or $200 in cash assistance from the P1.5-billion emergency aid program for OFWs who were displaced from their jobs due to lockdowns in their host countries or were stranded by community quarantines in the Philippines.
Of the approved requests, 54,602 were processed on-site or in various Polos and 31,247 were evaluated by the OWWA.
The number of approved assistance, from both land and sea-based workers, represents more than 50 percent of the 150,000 target beneficiaries, the Dole said.
So far, the labor department has disbursed P482.9 million to 47,239 qualified OFWs. The payouts by POLOs to 26,500 OFWs stood at P275.6 million, or 40 percent of the allocated budget.
For repatriated workers or balik-manggagawa, the OWWA has approved 31,247 beneficiaries and released to 20,739 a total of P207,300,000, or 41 percent of the budget allocation for these workers.
Aside from migrant workers who were displaced from their jobs due to lockdown or community quarantine, eligible for Akap assistance are OFWs who were repatriated for having been infected or suspected to have been infected with COVID-19.
OFWs who are stranded in their places of work or experience “no work, no pay” due to the pandemic since March 1 are also eligible for the cash aid, the DOLE said.
—TINA G. SANTOS
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