OFWs affected by global pandemic to receive P10K one-time financial aid from DOLE

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz - CDN Digital Correspondent | April 08,2020 - 10:21 PM

CEBU CITY—The overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the coronavirus 2019 pandemic will soon receive a one-time financial assistance of P10,000.

“The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has already prepared the guidelines of the DOLE-AKAP (Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong) assistance program for OFWs to ensure its effective and streamlined implementation,” Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a news release posted Wednesday on the DOLE website.

The DOLE-AKAP will cover regular/documented OFWs as defined in the 2016 Revised Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Rules and Regulations, according to the news release.

“Regular or documented OFWs are those who possess a valid passport and appropriate visa or permit to stay and work in the receiving country; and whose contract of employment has been processed by the POEA or the POLO,” Bello said.

The assistance program also covers qualified undocumented OFWs or those who were originally regular or documented workers, but for some reason or cause have thereafter lost their regular or documented status, he added.

“Also included in the program are those who are not registered with the POEA or whose contracts were not processed by POEA or the POLO (Philippine Overseas Labor Office), but have undertaken actions to regularize their contracts or status; or who are not registered with the POEA or whose contracts were not processed by POEA or the POLO, but are active OWWA members at the time of availment,” Bello clarified.

Returning OFWs or Balik-Manggagawa who were unable to go back to the host country due to the lockdown would also be entitled to receive the 10 thousand pesos assistance.

Also, OFWs who have experienced job displacement due to the receiving country’s imposition of lockdown or community quarantine or having been infected by the disease will benefit from the cash assistance.

“They must be still at overseas jobsites, or in the Philippines as Balik-Manggagawa, or already repatriated to the Philippines; and must not receive any financial support/assistance from the receiving countries/employers,” Bello explained.

“The Department shall provide financial assistance to qualified OFWs from countries with Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) presence and/or are heavily affected by COVID-19,” he added.

These priority countries are Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

For the Asia and the Pacific, OFWs in following COVID19-hit countries will be prioritized: Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, and New Zealand.

For Europe and the Americas: Canada, Cyprus, Italy, Germany, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain, United States of America.

To apply for the cash assistance program, on-site OFWs must visit the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in their host country.

Meanwhile, repatriated OFWS and Balik Manggagawa must apply at OWWA regional welfare offices (RWOs).

POLOs and OWWA, as well as DOLE offices, will be posting the detailed requirements of the OFW cash assistance program.

Bello said the funds for the DOLE-AKAP, including other administrative expenses of Central and Regional operations to be incurred in the implementation of this program, will come from DOLE COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (DOLE-CAMP) in the amount of Php1.5 Billion. /rcg

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