Over 230,000 overseas Filipino workers that are impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic are seeking cash assistance from the Philippine government—a figure that exceeds the set target of 150,000 beneficiaries for the P1.5 billion AKAP aid fund, said the the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Sunday, April 26.
As such, the DOLE said a request is being eyed for a supplemental budget to be able to provide more OFWs with the much needed emergency assistance.
Further, DOLE said locally displaced workers have swelled to over two million—leading to an extended community quarantine to combat the continued spread of the virus. The number of displaced OFWs is now approaching 100,000.
Based on reports by the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in 40 posts around the World, a total of 89,436 OFWs were either displaced or on a no-work, no-pay status due to lockdowns and decline of business operations in those working, host countries.
As of April 24, the POLOs and the local offices of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) already received 233,015 requests for assistance under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program – AKAP emergency fund which provides people with the one-time P10,000 or $200 cash aid to qualifiying OFWs.
DOLE said of the total number of requests, 118,134 were received by POLOs from workers onsite while the remainder were submitted by repatriated OFWs to OWWA and DOLE regional offices in the country.
Among those seeking assistance as disclosed by DOLE, 49,040 OFWs are already set to receive the cash aid after fulfilling the pre-requirements to avail of the assistance. They were processed within 10 working days since the release of the AKAP funds on April 9.
DOLE added that those eligible come from both land and sea-based workers equally.
Of those already getting the cash aid, close to 34,000 are onsite OFWs or those still staying in host countries despite the lockdowns, while more than 15,000 have already been repatriated or those returning OFWs unable to depart to their country of destination.
DOLE also noted that OWWA and the POLOs, since the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic, had assisted 36,385 repatriated OFWs
Meanwhile, on local work displacement, DOLE said it had disbursed P1.7 billion of its regular funds to finance the one-time assistance of P5,000 under CAMP to 345,865 formal sector workers. Another 259,449 informal sector workers benefitted from the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Barangay Ko, Bahay Ko (TUPAD #BKBK) program amounting to P1.14 billion also from DOLE’s 2020 budget.
On April 15, DOLE stopped accepting requests for assistance under CAMP after having been barraged with volumes of applications quickly consuming its limited regular assistance fund.
Reports from DOLE regional offices showed a continued swelling of the number of displaced workers. From 79,271 establishment reports submitted as of April 24, affected workers ballooned further to 2,073,362 nationwide.
Almost 1.4 million workers were displaced due to temporary closures while more than 687,000 had reduced incomes under alternative work arrangements like less workdays, rotation, forced leave and telecommuting.
About 90 percent of establishments which reported work displacements are seeking the CAMP assistance for their workers.
The National Capital Region recorded the highest displacement figure with 687,634 workers, followed by Central Luzon at 281,278 and then the Davao Region with 207,789.
Calabarzon reported 158,646 workers; Region 10 with 106,162; followed by Region 2 at 88,531; Central Visayas with 86,767; MIMAROPA at 74,533; Region 6 with 65,892 and the Bicol region with 65,757.
CAR recorded 63,957 workers, Region 8 with 49,362 and CARAGA at 39,711.
The areas with the least affected workers are Region 9 with 37,683; Region 1 at 32,017 and Region 12 with 27,643.
Stay updated with news and information from Department of Labor and Employment by visiting their website at https://www.dole.gov.ph.