By Ferdinand Patinio, 14 May 2021
MANILA – Over 540,000 overseas Filipino workers have so far been assisted by the government in going back to their hometowns, an official of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Friday.
“At present, we have sa total of 544,624 OFWs repatriated to their home towns due to Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic,” Alice Visperas, director of the DOLE’s International Labor Affairs Bureau, said during a Laging Handa presser.
She said there are also 49,000 Filipinos abroad that are scheduled to be sent home.
“In addition, there are 49,000 OFWs that are lined up for repatriation and there are 78,519 displaced workers due to Covid that opted to stay onsite,” she said.
Meanwhile, Visperas said over 500,000 OFW-beneficiaries of the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program have received one-time cash assistance from the government amount to more than PHP5.2 billion.
“About AKAP, we continue to provide assistance to OFWs. At present, a total of 514,630 OFWs have benefited from the program. They were given PHP10,000 or US$200 financial assistance amounting to PHP5.219 billion,” she added.
She also reported that many OFWs have benefitted from the vaccination program against Covid-19 of the host countries where they are deployed.
She said countries in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East have included Filipino workers, especially health workers, in their vaccination program.
“Here in Asia, number one is Hong Kong actually they want to make it mandatory the giving of vaccine to our OFWs. Japan, they started inoculation of our OFWs in July last year. The same with Singapore, many of our OFWs have received the vaccine especially health workers and other skilled workers,” she added.
Other countries that included OFWs in their vaccination drive are the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, Visperas said. (PNA)