By Rey Anthony Chiu, PIA-Bohol | 01:42 PM April 14, 2020
For land-based or sea-based Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) displaced by the activities and measures implemented to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID), the government is providing one-time financial assistance.
Through the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the government is giving $200 USD or P10K or its equivalent to the local currency in the host country, according to Secretary Silvestre Bello, through Department Order No. 212, series of 2020.
Eligible to the financial aid are the regular and documented overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), or qualified undocumented OFW, including the Balik-Mangagagwas are target beneficiaries of the project.
Documented or regular OFWs are those with a valid passport, appropriate visa or permit to stay and work in the receiving country, and those whose contract of employment has been processed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Authority (POEA) or the Philippine Overseas Labor and Office (POLO).
Qualified undocumented OFWs who used to be regular documented workers but for some reasons, lost their regular or documented status, those not registered with the POEA or whose contracts were not processed through the POEA or POLO, but have undertaken actions to regularize their contracts or status and those active Overseas Workers Welfare Authority members at the time of avail-ment.
OFWs who are also unable to return to their host country in view of the host country’s lockdown due to COVID 19 are also eligible to the aid.
But more of the above, the aid is for OFWs who have been displaced from their jobs due to the receiving country’s imposition of anti-COVID measures, still on their overseas jobsites or are already back repatriated to the Philippines and who have not been receiving any financial assistance form their host countries or employers.
For the assistance, the government has identified 20 countries in the Middle East and Africa, Asia and the pacific and Europe and the Americas with POLO presence and are heavily affected by the disease.
OFWs from these countries: Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Brunei, Hongkong, Japan, Korea, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, New, Zealand, Canada, Cyprus, Italy, Germany, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States of America, are prioritized for the aid.
With this, OFWs are asked to submit accomplished application forms for the Special Cash Assistance which are downloadable at the POLO’s website and social media accounts.
The application shall be attached with a copy of the passport or travel documents, proof of overseas employment or proof of loss of employment on account of the COVID, or proof that the OFW is currently involved in an on-going case like case reference or case endorsement with POLO stamps.
Upon submission, the POLO will evaluate the documents and within 5 days, notify the OFW of the status of the application within that span.
When the application is approved, the POLO releases the $200 through bank transfer or money remittance.
For the Balik Manggagawa, the repatriated OFW submits to the OWWA regional offices the accomplished application form, copy of passport and travel document, proof of overseas employment and proof of loss of employment due to COVID.
The same would be assessed by the RWOs and within 5 working days, the applicant is notified of the status of the application.
When approved, the repatriated OFW would get the P10,000 from the DOLE Regional Office through money remittance.
The government has allocated some P1.5 billion from its funds to implement the DOLE CAMP which has AKAP under it, according to Sec. Bello.