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P1.2 billion assistance fund ready for OFWs

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
P1.2 billion assistance fund ready for OFWs
This undated file photo shows OFWs.
STAR / Edd Gumban, file

MANILA, Philippines — Some P1.2 billion is available for the implementation of Assistance to Nationals (ATN) services for the millions of Filipinos working abroad, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) reported yesterday.

Migrant Workers Undersecretary Hans Cacdac also gave assurances that the department is ready and capable to take over the ATN function from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) starting July 1.

“We have an action fund in the budget. It’s a P1.2 billion fund and as of now, it stands at P1.082 billion and these are for the services I have mentioned, particularly the provision of an attorney for the OFWs who have pending cases in order to protect their rights. And if ever they are facing charges, we could provide them with legal services,” Cacdac disclosed in a radio interview.

Cacdac noted that the DMW recently deployed additional 94 personnel to the different Migrant Workers Offices (MWO) worldwide and is set to mobilize 98 more personnel in the coming months.

As provided under the law, Cacdac said all the more than 40 MWO headed by labor attaches in the field shall be under the DMW. “So we have enough units, structure, and manpower for this (ATN services),” he pointed out.

Among the ATN services to be provided by DMW, Cacdac said, are legal assistance, repatriation, welfare and labor-related services as well as emergency and crisis response.

He said OFWs needing assistance from the government can go directly to the MWO or the hotlines. They may also seek help or express their concerns through the DMW and MWO Facebook pages.

The DFA previously announced the transfer of its ATN services to the DMW. Thus, OFWs needing assistance should reach out to the DMW.

Despite the transfer, Cacdac said DMW will continue working closely with the Philippine embassies and consulates in the different countries employing OFWs.

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