SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Some 659 qualified displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Region 1 (Ilocos) have been approved to receive PHP10,000 cash under the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) AKAP assistance program through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
In an interview Wednesday, OWWA Ilocos regional office information officer Geraldine Lucero said they are still processing the release of the cash assistance to the first batch of approved OFW-recipients in the region.
“As of April 21, we have already released PHP10,000 each to some 87 approved OFWs, and the rest we are still processing,” she said.
She, however, clarified that the amount will come from DOLE.
Lucero added OWWA-1 has already received 5,508 applications for the program since it was started on April 13.
“We are validating if they are qualified to receive the assistance from the program,” she said.
DOLE-AKAP is a financial assistance provided to displaced land-based and sea-based OFWs due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Lucero said the qualified applicants are OFWs who have experienced job displacement due to the receiving country’s imposition of a lockdown or community quarantine or having been infected by the Covid-19; must be still at overseas job sites, or in the Philippines as Balik-Manggagawa, or already repatriated to the Philippines, and do not receive any financial support or assistance from the receiving countries or employers.
She added the OFWs who will be approved will receive the same amount of PHP10,000 regardless if they are active or inactive OWWA members.
The program also covers qualified documented and undocumented OFWs, she said.
“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 Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) or Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO),” Lucero said.
She said the assistance program also covers qualified undocumented OFWs or those who were originally regular or documented workers but for some reason or cause have lost their regular or documented status.
“It also covers 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 those 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,” she added.
Other details, including how to apply for the assistance program, are available at OWWA-1’s Facebook page. Hilda Austria /PNA – northboundasia.com