OWWA offers a new round of financial assistance for OFWs, also lessens requirements so they can easily process the application and receive the money much faster than the previous rounds.
Financial Assistance to OFWs
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and other relevant agencies had provided displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with a financial assistance amounting to Php10,000 as monetary aid. Many have lost their jobs and didn’t have food to eat. This money helped them have provisions for themselves and their families.
But there are still many who were unable to receive the financial assistance for various reasons, including not being able to submit their applications due to lack of necessary documents. Moreover, since there’s a need for OFWs to provide written proof that they lost their jobs, many were unable to process for the monetary assistance.
Even seafarers who went home and were left stranded due to travel restrictions also experienced the same problem.
“Hindi pa po nakukuha yang mga sa Grand Princess, sa MVR Tanya, sa Ruby Princess, sa Diamond Princess… Mga ilan lang ang nakakuha, ‘yung iba naman hanggang ngayon namo-monitor namin, hindi pa rin nakukuha ‘yung P10,000 eh apat na buwan na po,” said Edwin dela Cruz of Migrante International.
But even with problems in the release of the earlier assistance, the OWWA gets ready for a new round of financial assistance.
The OWWA board of trustees recently approved Php10,000 as financial assistance for qualified OFWs who were not able to avail of the DOLE-AKAP, the Php10,000 aid provided by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for Landbased and Sea-based Filipino workers displaced by the COVID-19 crisis.
“PhpP10,000 financial assistance for active OWWA members na hindi nakinabang dito sa DOLE-AKAP. At number 2 ay ‘yung scholarship for one college level dependent,” explained OWWA administrator Hans Cacdac.
As an added good news, the OWWA also lessened the requirements to avail of the financial assistance. OFWs only need to submit their passport and personal undertaking or declaration that they had lost their job.
Funds Source of OFW Assistance
While the OWWA is mandated to provide assistance for OFWs, its funds are also dwindling fast. With so many OFWs affected by the COVID-19 crisis, the agency’s fund could face bankruptcy in 2021.
As such, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III wants the government to step in and use money from its coffers, instead of the OWWA using its trust funds to provide financial assistance to all affected OFWs.
“Dapat gobyerno ang magbigay ng pera para matiyak natin na lahat ng kailangan ng ating mga OFW ay matugunan natin,” Bello said.
OWWA now seeks Php5 billion in supplemental budget from the Congress to provide assistance to OFWs until the end of the year.