Land-based and sea-based overseas workers whose employment was displaced by the Corona virus pandemic will be given ten thousand pesos financial assistance.
According to Secretary Silvestre Bello III, “The Department of Labor and Employment has already prepared the guidelines of the DOLE-AKAP assistance program for OFWs to ensure its effective and streamlined implementation”
The DOLE-AKAP assistance program will cover any of the following according to Sec. Bello:
- Regular/documented OFWs as defined in the 2016 Revised Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Rules and Regulations.
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.
- 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.
- Those who are not registered with the POEA or whose contracts were not processed by POEA or the POLO, 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.
- Balik-Manggagawa who are unable to return to host country in view of its lockdown due to COVID-19.
- 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.
“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 mentioned.
Furthermore, OFWs coming from priority countries or territories will be given financial aid.
Bello added that 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.
Priority Countries in the Middle East
- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and
- United Arab Emirates.
Priority Countries in Asia and the Pacific
- Hong Kong
- Malaysia, and
- New Zealand.
Priority Countries in Europe and the Americas
- United Kingdom of Great Britain, and
- 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 guidelines and 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 shall be sourced from DOLE COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (DOLE-CAMP) in the amount of Php1.5 Billion.
May the winds be on your favor.