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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Gov’t gives aid to distressed OFWs, dependents in Iligan

ILIGAN CITY(PIA)–The government continues to strive to deliver services to the needing communities through the implementation of various programs.

A P285,000 package assistance of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) was distributed Thursday, September 23, to identified distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their dependents in the city to assist them in their recovery during this time of health crisis.

With the turnover ceremony spearheaded by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III, eight displaced OFWs received a startup capital all accounting to P140,000 from the Balik Pinas Balik Hanapbuhay (BPBH) while an organization composed of OFWs focusing on food processing was granted P125,000 as a one-time financial assistance through the Tulong Pangkabuhayan para sa Pag-unlad ng Samahang OFWs (Tulong PUSO).

Further, the Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP) and the OFW Dependent Scholarship Program (ODSP) benefited one beneficiary each with P10,000.

OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the BPBH is an individual livelihood program for returning distressed OFWs who are bound to receive a cash grant to start a business which is worth P20,000 for active OWWA members and P10,000 for inactive members.

Such activity of the membership depends on the ability of an OFW to regularly pay USD25 as a two-year membership fee, although some exceptions are given, especially to those who lost their jobs abroad while still being an active member.

“Kaya OFWs are always encouraged to keep their OFW OWWA membership active… However, sa time ni Secretary, nagkaroon ng exceptions. Ayon sa ruling ng Board, under kay Secretary Bello, active pa rin iyon kasi nawalan siya ng trabaho during the time na active siya at hindi na natin maaasahan na mababayaran niya ang USD25 dahil nawalan nga siya [ng trabaho]. May exceptions lang pero in general, dapat updated iyong contribution every two years,” he said.

(That is why OFWs are always encouraged to keep their OFW OWWA membership active… However, in the time of the Secretary, there are exceptions. According to the ruling of the Board, under Secretary Bello, that is still active because he lost his job during the time when he was still active and we cannot rely on him paying the USD25 because he already lost [his job].)

Cacdac also shared that the OWWA offers a scholarship through the ODSP which gives an annual grant for four years to children of low-income OFWs, especially domestic helpers, earning a maximum of $600.

The ELAP, on the other hand, provides a scholarship and livelihood grant as well to dependents of OFW decedents while the Tulong PUSO extends one-time aid to a livelihood group or association composed of returning OFWs who are affected by the pandemic and would want not to return abroad anymore.

The OWWA administrator said interested applicants of all their programs may just go to their online portal through https://owwa.gov.ph as all the requirements are posted there.

He also reminded that there will be times when face-to-face transactions will be necessitated as other programs, specifically livelihood and scholarship grants require a site inspection and validation respectively. (CRG/PIA-Lanao del Norte)

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