The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is planning to release the cash aid to repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as soon as they arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“Why do we need to wait for them to apply for AKAP (Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong) program. If they were repatriated, it means that they were displaced due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. That’s the reason why they were sent back home. So, we are thinking once they arrive at the airport, we will give them the cash assistance given to them by President Rodrigo Duterte,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a virtual forum.
Bello added that this will ease the burden of the OFWs displaced by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“We know them as OFWs. We know they were displaced because of Covid-19 and therefore they deserve the financial assistance,” he added.
At the same time, he reported that as of Tuesday, the DOLE has given PHP3.5 billion worth of cash assistance to almost 350,000 beneficiaries.
Under the AKAP, displaced OFWs are given a one-time PHP10,000 (USD200) cash assistance.
He said the relaxing of the processing of financial assistance is part of his order to streamline the method not only to OFWs but also to all formal and informal employees in the country.
At the same time, Bello assured that around 10,000 informal workers who would be hired through the agency’s emergency employment program in the provinces of Catanduanes and Albay, would receive their salaries before the end of November.
“The employment of informal sector workers (under Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) should be started at the earliest possible time…this is my promise to President Duterte in our webinar meeting last Monday that we will have the payout to the beneficiaries not later than November 20,” he said.
The workers would be employed to clean the streets of debris and other obstructions in these provinces that were battered by Super Typhoon Rolly.
Under TUPAD, beneficiaries are given emergency employment and paid the prevailing minimum wage rates in their respective areas. (PNA)