SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union — Some 566 overseas workers who are unable to return to their work abroad yet due to the temporary travel ban have received PHP10,000 cash assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
In an interview Thursday, OWWA Ilocos regional office information officer Geraldine Lucero said the aid is an immediate response of the two national government agencies to the call of President Rodrigo Duterte to ease the burden of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the imposed temporary travel bans due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in several countries.
“The OFWs are from different parts of the (Ilocos) region. They are those supposedly returning to Hong Kong, Macao, and China, where there is an imposed travel ban in these countries,” she said.
President Duterte has imposed a temporary ban on travel to and from these countries due to Covid-19 starting Feb. 2. The country has also included Taiwan in its travel ban.
Lucero said the stranded OFWs whose flights were scheduled from Feb. 2 to 16 were able to claim the cash assistance.
Those whose flights were scheduled from Feb. 17 onwards can already submit their profiles to OWWA’s satellite offices near them and they will be notified on when they will receive the cash aid, she said.
“This aid is for documented OFWs, whether they are newly-hired or have been working there for a long time; active or inactive OWWA member. But those who are undocumented or are already residents of the said country where they work cannot avail of the said assistance,” she added.
Aside from the assistance, some of the stranded OFWs have also enrolled in short-term courses offered by OWWA, in cooperation with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Lucero said.
“We offer information technology training, among our other regular programs. The training is open to all OFWs with at least one OWWA membership payment and their dependents for free. After they finish a course, a TESDA certificate will be given to them,” she said.
She added some of the stranded OFWs already availed of the courses since the lifting of the temporary ban is still indefinite at the moment.
Lucero said they may also avail of the skills for employment scholarship, wherein a qualified OFW may receive up to PHP14,500 for school tuition fees. PNA – northboundasia.com