The Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA) will again ask for additional funds to be used to repatriate stranded overseas Filipino workers.
According to OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, the funds allocated for the repatriation program are expected to be exhausted in the next three months.
“We’re good until mga September, and then after September, hihingi na naman tayo ng pondo. Actually, baka ngayong panahon pa lamang, magbibigay na tayo ng senyales sa DBM patungkol sa pangangailangan ng pondo ng bandang katapusan ng third quarter o simula ng fourth quarter ng taong ito,” an official explained during Laging Handa public briefing on Monday.
This is in addition to the P5.2 billion funding approved by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) last month requested by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
According to Cacdac, an estimated 612,000 OFWs stranded in various countries have been repatriated since May 2020.
The agency allegedly answered their swab test, flight ticket, and quarantine in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, 348 OFWs from Dubai and Abu Dhabi were repatriated this weekend.
OWWA to ask additional funds for OFW repatriation
This is the fourth batch of returned OFWs since the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases (IATF-EID) implemented travel restrictions in seven countries to curb the spread of the more infectious variant of COVID-19.
According to Cacdac, it is estimated that another 70,000 to 80,000 OFWs are waiting to be repatriated. But the number is likely to grow to 130,000.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said four repatriation flights are scheduled to take place this month on July 12, 17, 27, and 30.
OWWA is an agency of the Department of Labor and Employment of the Philippines. It protects the interests of Overseas Filipino Workers and their families, providing social security, cultural services, and help with employment, remittances, and legal matters.
It is funded by an obligatory annual contribution from overseas workers and their employers. The agency was founded in 1977 as the Welfare and Training Fund for Overseas Workers.