Department of Labor and Employment said that a one-time financial assistance of 10 thousand pesos (P10,000) equivalent to US$200will be given to landbased and seabased overseas Filipino workers whose employments were greatly affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
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.”
DOLE-AKAP (Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong) will cover 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,” Bello said.
The assistance program, Bello added, also covers 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.
“Also included in the program are 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,” Bello said.
Balik-Manggagawa who are unable to return to host country in view of its lockdown due to COVID-19 are also entitled to receive the 10 thousand pesos assistance.
Bello further said 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 will receive the cash assistance.
“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 said.
Further, OFWs coming from priority countries/territories will be given financial assistance.
“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,” Bello said.
These priority countries are
- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
Europe and the Americas
- United Kingdom of Great Britain
- 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).
Update from Philippine News Agency
To avail of the program “on-site” OFWs must submit the following documents to their respective POLO:
a. Accomplished application form for the special cash assistance which is downloadable at their respective POLO website or social media account;
b. Photocopy of their passport and/or travel documents;
c. Proof of overseas employment, such as a valid OEC, residence ID, visa, reentry-visa etc.
d. Proof of loss of employment on account of the Covid-19 disease; and
e. Proof of a pending case that has caused their current “undocumented status, such as case reference number, case endorsement stamped by the POLO, etc.
On the other hand, the Balik Manggagawa, or repatriated OFWs are required to submit the following documents to their respective regional or local OWWA offices:
a. Accomplished application form for special cash assistance downloadable at www.dole-akap.owwa.gov.ph website;
b. Copy of passport or travel documents;
c. Proof of overseas employment, such as valid OEC, residence ID, visa/re-entry visa, etc. and
d. Proof of loss of employment due to the Covid-19 disease.
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.