Displaced and repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) due to the pandemic will get P10,000 cash aid from the government upon their arrival in Manila.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III issued the order as he recognized the delays in distributing the financial aid to OFWs since the lockdown began eight months ago.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported 237,363 OFWs had been repatriated since the COVID-19 outbreak.
In October alone, DFA said 37,095 were brought home. The agency said it expected more than 107,000 Filipinos to return home by year-end.
As per the current procedure, overseas Filipino workers have to apply for financial aid and wait for approved applications. “Why do we have to wait for the OFWs to apply? We know they were displaced because of COVID-19, and therefore they deserve the financial assistance,” Bello said in an online news briefing.
“Once they arrive, the financial assistance given by the President for them should be ready. When they arrive at the airport, give them the assistance. Let us not wait for them to apply since we know they are OFWs,” he said.
Displaced OFWs to get P10K cash aid upon arrival – DOLE
DOLE rolled out three cash assistance programs for workers in formal and informal sectors under the Bayanihan 1. One-time assistance of $200, or P10,000 would be given to OFWs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The repatriated OFW could submit documents proving job loss due to the pandemic, but Bello said the DOLE would not wait for these if it already had the OFW’s records.
“So long as we have proof that they are OFWs and they were displaced, we will give them assistance,” he said.
“October’s repatriations were marked by several ‘firsts’—the mass repatriation of more than 500 Agrostudies students from Israel, the safe return of 92 overseas Filipino workers from Benghazi, Libya, and the first-ever repatriation by sea from Indonesia of 40 Filipino fishermen via the BRP Tubbataha,” the DFA said in a statement.