OFWs applying for gov't cash aid reach 683,000
This undated file photo shows Filipinos lining up at the OFW lane at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport
The STAR/file

OFWs applying for gov't cash aid reach 683,000

Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - November 29, 2020 - 3:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino workers applying for the labor department's cash assistance due to the coronavirus pandemic has reached over 683,000, with some P3.45 billion disbursed for the said program. 

The agency first rolled the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong in April to provide a P10,000 assistance to OFWs, which had been affected by the ongoing health crisis. 

Applications have since skyrocketed with the more than 683,000 requests it received more than the target beneficiaries of 550,000.

In a statement on Sunday, DOLE said the more than P3 billion has assisted 338,900 workers out of the total applications, of which 78,414 were denied.

The department had an initial budget of P3.5 billion for the program from the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the first coronavirus aid package. 

Under the second Bayanihan law, the program would get a new P2 billion funding, which DOLE said would extend the assistance to 200,000 more OFWs.

A labor official in September had estimated that over 700,000 Filipino workers abroad may be displaced from their jobs as the pandemic grips countries hard and sends economies into recession.

DOLE's figures showed that OFWs remaining in the countries where they work yielded more applications from AKAP at 359,111, while those who have returned home at 323,458.

Beginning Monday, those bound for repatriation may submit their application to the AKAP even before arriving in the country, with the agency saying they could receive the cash aid within 3 to 5 days.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced nearly 320,000 Filipino workers abroad to fly back to the country, per a report by the labor department as well. — with reports from Xave Gregorio

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