In its continuing efforts in assisting migrant workers affected by the pandemic, over 136,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been transported to their respective home provinces, the Department of Labor and Employment reported on Wednesday.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the latest batch of 2,667 OFWs who were cleared of coronavirus were sent home on August 11.
This brings to 136,509 OFWs provided with a package of DOLE assistance since it started transporting OFWs en masse in May after Covid tests and quarantine.
The DOLE, through the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and in coordination with other government agencies, ensures the OFWs are provided with assistance which includes accommodation, food, transportation, and COVID testing upon their arrival in the country.
DOLE has also been extending a one-time P10,000 or $200 cash aid under AKAP to OFWs affected by the pandemic, both on-site and those stranded in the country.
Sustaining the government’s efforts on OFW repatriation and assistance, Bello recently welcomed President Duterte’s approval of additional P5 billion intended for pandemic-affected OFWs.
Bello said with additional funding, more OFWs will benefit from the AKAP program and even more overseas workers will be repatriated and provided with assistance.
In terms of alternative employment opportunities, Bello said that several contractors in Guam intend to hire more skilled Filipinos under the construction and maintenance job categories.
Locally, the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry has also expressed demand for OFW returnees, especially those with background in the fields of information technology and healthcare.