DOLE vows to secure jobs abroad for displaced OFWs due to pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that it will be forging agreements with different countries to secure jobs for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who have been displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This came after Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III promised that “a huge number of jobs is on the table,” for OFWs who lost their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic.
“In the meantime, we are creating more employment destinations for [OFWs]. That’s the reason why we are entering into agreement[s] with Canada, Russia, China and even Bangkok so that we will have bilateral agreements with them to provide work destination[s] for OFWs,” Bello said in a statement on Sunday.
According to DOLE, Bilateral Labor Agreements (BLAs) are formal agreements entered into by the Philippines with countries of destination to govern deployment, labor cooperation on the protection and promotion of rights and welfare of OFWs, and human resources development.
Bello said that a total of 702,000 OFWs have been repatriated since the start of the pandemic.
He then assured that assistance is being provided to the said displaced OFWs through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
“Meron ding program na tinatawag na Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong o AKAP. Kung hindi pa nakakauwi at nandun sila, [sa ibang bansa] walang trabaho dahil sa pandemya, binigyan namin sila ng tig-200 US dollars pero kung nakauwi na sila, binigyan namin sila ng equivalent na P10,000,” Bello said.
(There is also a program called Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong or AKAP. If they haven’t come home yet and they are there in another country without a job because of the pandemic, we give them $200 each but if they are home, we give them the equivalent of P10,000.)
Children of OFWs are also receiving aid through scholarship grants under OFW Dependent Scholarship Program, an educational assistance of P20,000 per school year to qualified dependents of active OFWs whose salary is not more than 600 dollars, said Bello.
“Generally dapat sa mga active members pero sa panahon ng pandemya kailangan intindihin mo ang kanilang kalagayan. Kahit paano yung ayuda na binibigay sa regular OFWs binibigyan din natin sila,” Bello said.
(Generally it should be for active members only but during a pandemic you need to understand their situation. The aid is also being given to them.)
Other DOLE programs for OFWs are OWWA’s Balik Pinas Balik Hanapbuhay, Education and Livelihood Assistance Program, and Tulong Pangkabuhayan Para sa Pag-unlad ng Samahang OFWs.
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