OWWA running out of funds
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) said it will use up in just four to five months its P6.2-billion budget for its assistance to returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Owwa Administrator Hans Cacdac said the government was spending about P30 million daily for the quarantine of about 10,000 newly arrived OFWs in 114 hotels.
The agency also shoulders the COVID-19 testing and transport of OFWs to their home provinces after they test negative for the novel coronavirus.
Cacdac said that under the latest regulation by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, arriving passengers must be quarantined in a hotel and tested on the sixth day of arrival, with the results to be known in two to three days.
“By April or May, our 2021 budget of P6.2 billion will run out. We are projecting that our budget will not be enough by April or May,” Cacdac said in a media briefing on Wednesday.
He said the Department of Labor and Employment wrote to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in February to seek a supplemental budget for Owwa of P9.8 billion for the remainder of the year.
“We have received possible signals from the DBM, so [the additional budget] is really a matter of when and how much,” Cacdac said.
The Owwa said it assisted 470,000 repatriated OFWs since the pandemic began last year.
The Owwa estimates that around 80,000 to 100,000 displaced OFWs will come home this year, although the number may be lower depending on the success of the vaccination programs in their host countries.
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