The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), has provided assistance to more than 200 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who arrived in Manila from Kuwait on Thursday.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the OFWs were given a range of assistance including accommodation at OWWA’s Half Way Home, and provisions for their travel back to their provinces.
“They were also offered reintegration assistance such as livelihood projects or community-based income-generating projects, skills training, scholarship for their dependents, credit facilitation and lending, as well as social and family counseling, and stress debriefing,” Bello said in a statement.
He also thanked the Kuwaiti government for helping the distressed OFWs to go home.
“We share the gratefulness of President (Rodrigo) Duterte to the Kuwaiti government for helping us send back home our kababayans at no cost to the Philippine Government. This is a heartening act considering that we are in the midst of providing assistance to our people due to the unprecedented emergency brought about by the Covid-19 global pandemic,” he added.
Meanwhile, the DOLE issued guidelines for assistance such as hotel accommodations and transportation for distressed land-based and sea-based Filipino workers under the “OWWA Project Care.”
In Department Order (DO) No. 211 Series of 2020 dated March 25, the covered beneficiaries are OFW-repatriates during the period of implementation of the during the period of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over the entire Luzon or until the lifting of the Social Distancing Measures in the entire Luzon.
“This DO shall cover distressed arriving and departing land-based and sea-based OFW-repatriates during the period of implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine over the entire Luzon from 17 March 2020 until 12 April 2020 or until the lifting of the Social Distancing Measures in the entire Luzon,” it said.
It added that the program shall particularly give priority assistance to distressed OFWs who require immediate repatriation to facilitate medical and psychological care.
“The main purpose is to ensure smooth repatriation of the OFW repatriates, especially those in need of assistance upon their arrival in the different airports, in collaboration with the Departments of Transportation (DOTr). Tourism (DOT). Health (DOH) and Foreign Affairs (DFA),” the order added.
To avail of the assistance, the OFW must present proof of overseas employment, i.e., Travel Document, OEC (overseas employment certificate), etc.
The funds for the accommodation of distressed and/or stranded OFWs shall be sourced from the Emergency Repatriation Fund (ERF). (PNA)