600,000 OFWs Seek Assistance from DOLE During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Approximately 600,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) seek financial aid from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices and the Overseas Welfare Administration (OWWA), 604,403 on-site and repatriated OFWs sought for cash aids from DOLE on August 15. Among them are 349,977 on-site workers or those displaced and stranded overseas, while 254,426 are repatriated land-based and sea-based OFWs.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III states that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the release of PHP5 billion as additional funds for the repatriation and assistance of OFWs.
DOLE approved almost half of the requests, providing one-time monetary assistance of $200 or PHP10,000 under the Abot Kaya Ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program, as stated in DOLE’s Department Order No. 212 s.2020 to migrant workers affected by the pandemic.
Bello also reported that the PHP2.436 billion budget is almost entirely depleted after disbursement to 237,778 OFW beneficiaries as of Saturday, August 15 and that the latest batch of repatriated workers has been sent home after testing negative for COVID-19.
DOLE currently provides accommodation and transportation for stranded OFWs as they await their COVID-19 test results. They will then be transported home if they test negative for the virus.