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Assistance given to OFWs affected by COVID-19 nearly P1.5B —Bello

Close to P1.5 billion in assistance has so far been given to overseas Filipino workers whose livelihood has been affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis, Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Sunday.

"Ang naibigay natin, umaabot na sa P1.5 billion sa ating mga OFW na nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa COVID-19," Bello said in a Dobol B sa News TV interview.

According to Bello, the department also gave a $200 cash assistance to OFWs who did not lose their jobs but are unable to go to work due to quarantine measures.

When they got back to the Philippines, the same amount of cash assistance was converted to P10,000, he added.

Likewise, Bello pointed out that OFWs who live in areas who are now under general community quarantine will still receive assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Bello said the DSWD has also requested additional funding from the government amounting to P1 billion to continue serving the increasing number of OFWs requesting for assistance.

"Ang binigay sa amin na pondo para sa mga OFW ay P1.5 billion, ito para sa 150,000 [na OFW] kasi yun ang estimate namin pero sa ating mga kababayan na nag-apply ay umaabot na ng 400,000, which is 250,000 beyond our estimate," he said.

"Kaya humingi kami ng dagdag at binigyan naman kami, binigyan tayo ni Pangulong Duterte ng additional P1 billion. Kaya tuluy-tuloy pa rin ang pagbibigay sa ating mga kababayan na nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa COVID."

According to the latest report of President Rodrigo Duterte to Congress on May 11, a total of 73,352 OFWs have so far been served under the DOLE's COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program Abot Kamay ang Tulong Program.

This, however, is only 48.9% of the total number of 300,000 target OFW beneficiaries. —Erwin Colcol/LBG, GMA News


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