Government's repartriation program helps over 76K OFWs

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MORE than 76,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Central Visayas received assistance from the government’s repatriation program amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) 7 information officer Luchel Taniza said based on the joint data that the Dole 7 and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) 7 generated as of March 31, 2021, a total of 76,522 returning OFWs have been assisted by both agencies in going back to their respective provinces in Central Visayas.

For the first three months of 2021 alone, she said the two agencies have assisted the repatriation of 12,491 OFWs in the region; these include 1,982 OFWs in January, 3,850 in February and 6,659 in March.

A total of 64,031 other OFWs have also been repatriated for the entire 2020. Majority of these are from Cebu with only 4,049 OFWs from Bohol and 959 from Negros Oriental and Siquijor.

Aside from temporary accommodation, food and other assistance while they were waiting for their Covid-19 test results, the OFWs were also provided with transportation through their respective local government units for their return to their provinces, Taniza said.

Moreover, those land-based and sea-based migrant workers whose employment was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, also received a one-time cash assistance of P10,000 under the Dole’s “Abot-Kamay Ang Pagtulong” (Akap) program.

Taniza said in 2020, a total of 4,000 eligible OFWs in the region were able to claim the cash assistance, with Dole 7 disbursing a total fund of P40 million.

Another 2,811 OFWs benefited from Akap in 2021.

Dole 7 augmented the team of Owwa 7 in assisting arriving OFWs at the airport and at the different seaports in the region due to the significant increase in the number of repatriated OFWs. (WBS)