For the past few months, more and more Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) are losing their jobs and opting to return to the Philippines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist these displaced OFWs, the government released a supplemental budget amounting to P5 billion which was handed to the Department of Labor and Employment.
Senator Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate committee on labor and employment welcomed the said budget saying that it will be of great help especially in the cost of the repatriation of displaced OFWs, their COVID-19 testing, lodging and even for their transportation going back to their provinces. This will also aid in the continued release of one-time assistance worth P10,000 for repatriated OFWs.
“We express our gratitude to our government for heeding our call for additional funding, which we have raised since May in the course of the weekly reports to Congress as provided by the Bayanihan 1 law,” says Villanueva in a statement.
The senator also said that they will continue to repatriate those OFWs affected by the COVID-19, through the help of these funds from the government.
“Mapapagpatuloy pa po ng gobyerno ang pagpapauwi ng mga OFW natin na kasalukuyang stranded sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng mundo sa tulong ng P5 billion na karagdagang pondo para sa DOLE, (the government can continue helping our OFWs who are currently stranded in different parts of the world return home with the additional P5-billion funding for DOLE),” he said.
Villanueva admitted that the initial funds granted to the Abot Kamay Ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program of DOLE are nearly depleted after disbursing money to over 233,000 OFWs.