MANILA – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will resume its livelihood program for distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are back in their hometowns due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak, its administrator said Tuesday.
“With the return of our dear OFWs to their home regions/provinces, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III has directed the resumption of the OWWA ‘Balik Pilipinas, Balik Hanapbuhay’ Livelihood Program for returning distressed OFWs-OWWA members,” Hans Leo Cacdac said in a Twitter post.
The program is a package of livelihood support to provide returning member-OFWs some immediate relief amounting to a maximum of PHP20,000 as a start-up or additional capital for the livelihood project.
Meanwhile, Cacdac appealed to local government units (LGUs) to accept the returning workers to their hometowns or provinces as they have missed their loved ones after being in quarantine for at least two weeks.
“Dear LGUs: After (two-and-a-half) months of ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), we should have already learned that family reunification rises above anything. Our returning OFWs are Covid-19-free with DOH (Department of Health) certifications to that effect. Please accept them home,” he added.
On Monday, the DOLE said nearly 24,000 OFWs who have tested negative for Covid-19 would be home in the next three days.
The department will arrange land, sea, and air transportation for some 8,000 individuals each day.
The move complies with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to send home OFWs who have been stuck in quarantine facilities despite completing the 14-day mandatory quarantine. (ia/PNA)