DOLE retracts advisory on OFW cash aid, admits it was ‘wrong announcement’
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday retracted an earlier advisory on the cash aid applications of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), saying the announcement “was inadvertently released.”
In the public advisory DOLE sent to reporters past 2 p.m., it said that some overseas Philippine labor offices had suspended the acceptance of applications for cash aid to OFWs.
“The Department of Labor and Employment wishes to inform our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that some of our Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) [have] already suspended the acceptance of DOLE-AKAP (Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong) applications for on-site OFWs,” read the advisory.
It added that the labor offices which suspended the acceptance of cash aid application have already “exceeded their respective allocations.”
Budget allocated for the DOLE-AKAP program amounts to P1.5 billion, which was sourced from the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).
“With said limited budget, only 150,000 OFWs out of the million Filipinos overseas can be accommodated under the assistance program,” DOLE said.
“We appeal to the public’s understanding as we try to find alternative ways to attend/cater to the needs of our OFWs affected by this pandemic,” it added.
However, DOLE took back its advisory a few hours after it was released.
It clarified that “the DOLE-AKAP applications on-site will still push through.”
“Please be advised that the Public Advisory is a WRONG announcement,” Rolly Francia, director of DOLE’s Information and Publication Service, told reporters.
“This Public Advisory was inadvertently released. WE APOLOGIZE for this error,” he added.
The latest data from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) showed that a total of 1,114 Filipinos overseas have contracted COVID-19.
Of the number, 660 Filipino patients are still undergoing treatment, while 295 have recovered.
There are 159 fatalities reported so far, the DFA said.
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