(Perla Lena / PNA)

February 17, 2021


Ilonggo Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) displaced by the health pandemic received assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in a short ceremony held at the Casa Real here on Tuesday.

The turnover of livelihood and scholarship cash assistance to 60 beneficiaries was graced by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, and OWWA Administrator Leo Hans Cacdac.

Cacdac, in an interview, said they have been releasing assistance but the approval of the aid for recipients on Tuesday coincided with the scheduled turnover.

The recipients included 25 people for the Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay with financial assistance ranging from PHP5,000 to PHP20,000. The project is a micro-business grant intended for returning distressed OFWs.

Fifteen students received PHP10,000 each under the Educational Assistance through Scholarship in Emergencies (EASE) while 10 students received PHP30,000 each as they were chosen for the Tabang OFW, which is for qualified collegiate level dependents of OFWs who were displaced due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Ten other individuals received a one-time financial aid of PHP10,000 each under the DOLE AKAP, which is for OFWs displaced by the health pandemic as provided for the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

In his message during the program, Cacdac said OWWA will continue to extend programs and services to OFWs but added that he could not “underestimate or overemphasize” the assistance of local government units (LGUs) in the repatriation of our workers.

Bello said the provision of assistance is upon the order of President Rodrigo Duterte that the people’s money should not be kept but should be returned to them.

As of Tuesday, he said that OWWA was able to repatriate 442,000 OFWs and returned them to their hometowns.

Budget Secretary Avisado, in his message, said the DBM is “happy to help in the continuing effort to provide for our country and our workers the support that they need from the government to help them recover in this time of pandemic”.

“Iloilo plays a big role in the country’s total development, especially during this time when we are pump-priming our economy to help us to recover from the pandemic,” he said.