The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) recently reported that 35,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are currently in the country have availed a cash assistance of USD 200 (Php 10,000) under the ‘Abot-Kamay ang Pagtulong Program’ of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-AKAP).
“For now, we have approved close to 35,000 applications. Of this number, 50 percent is land-based OFWs and 50 percent is sea-based OFWs. I am pointing this out because many seafarers say they are at a disadvantage on this program. But they should not worry because the distribution is fair, it’s 50-50,” states Hans Leo Cacdac, OWWA Administrator, in an article by the Philippine News Agency. Cacdac added that beneficiaries include land-based and sea-based OFWs.
Department Order 212, Series of 2020 prescribes guidelines on the provision of financial assistance for displaced landbased and seabased Filipino workers due to the Coronavirus Disease. The Abot-Kamay ang Pagtulong Program covers Regular/Documented OFW, Qualified Undocumented OFW, and Balik-Manggagawa.
This includes the following eligibility: those who have experienced job displacement due to the receiving country’s imposition of lockdown or community quarantine or having been infected by the disease; 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.
Cacdac also revealed that they are planning to extend aid to 50,000 OFWs, 30% of the total target beneficiaries. The remainder of which are currently working abroad.
“In overseas posts, 70 percent of the DOLE-AKAP (fund) will be distributed. The remaining percent is here in the Philippines. We now have 35,000 approved applicants and we are approaching the target of 50,000 OFWs,” Cacdac adds.