3.8M workers, over 550K OFWs displaced by COVID-19 pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — Around 3.8 million local workers and over 550,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have so far been displaced by the pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Thursday.
During a year-end press conference, DOLE Assistance Secretary Dominique Tutay said the 3.8 million workers are composed of employees who were either retrenched, permanently displaced, or “undergoing flexible work arrangements,” as well as those who were affected by the temporary closure of their workplace.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that DOLE has utilized over P3 billion to assist 658,886 private-sector workers under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).
Meanwhile, over 423,000 workers in the informal sector were able to receive assistance through DOLE’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program.
DOLE International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) director Alice Visperas also reported the latest displacement figures among OFWs.
As of Dec. 17, Visperas said DOLE has recorded over 550,000 OFWs displaced by the pandemic. Of the number, around 370,000 have already been repatriated to their home provinces while 126,000 are awaiting repatriation.
Some 82,000 displaced OFWs opted to stay in their host country, Visperas also noted.
According to Bello, around P3.5 billion of funding provided under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act has been disbursed through the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) to provide cash assistance to 350,000 OFWs displaced by the pandemic.
Aside from emergency assistance, Bello said OFWs also benefited from DOLE’s social amelioration programs.
He said 25,679 OFW dependents were granted support to finish their short-term and degree courses; 10,802 OFWs who were victims of illegal recruitment and trafficking-in-person were assisted; and 1.5 million OFWs were given training, case management, repatriation, and livelihood assistance.
“In these difficult times, we take our hats off to our Filipino workers here and abroad for their selfless sacrifices. To those who have fallen in the line of duty, they are truly our heroes. They all deserve our accolades,” he said.