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Philippines
Thursday, May 23, 2024

2:05 PM

OWWA-10 serves 26,826 OFWs during pandemic

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–Seeking ways to help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) amid coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 pandemic, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)-10 assisted 26,826 OFWs from different areas in Mindanao.

“So out sa 26,826, 19,153 from Region 10 nga miabot pinaagi sa sweeper flight ug 434 sa atong mga Malasakit Voyages (came home through sweeper flights and 434 from the Malasakit Voyages),” OWWA-10 OIC for Programs and Services Division Eugene Mesias said during the CORDS-X Podcast with Communications Sec. Martin Andanar, November 20.

He added that OWWA-10 assists OFWs through facilitating the quarantine requirements, swab testing, and their going back to home provinces through the free sweeper flights.

Mesias said OWWA aids OFWs who wanted to go back to the country through their on site assistance in the Philippine Overseas Labor Embassy. The OFWs could also directly seek assistance from OWWA-10 by having their families visit the regional office to facilitate the travel. 

Other OWWA programs, services

Even before the pandemic, Mesias said together with the welfare officers and labor attaches, OWWA-10 has been assisting OFWs who face challenges while working abroad such as those who want to repatriate, OFWs with sickness and even deaths of OFWs.  

OWWA-10 also implements reintegration programs to aid the displaced OFWs or those who experienced maltreatment, sexual harassment, illegal recruitment, and those affected with political instability. 

The agency has a one-time cash assistance to OFWs dubbed, Balik Pilipinas, Balik Hanapbuhay. “Priority nato ang kanang dili na mubalik sa gawas sa nasud. So member siya sa OWWA, at least within three years gikan sa iyang pag-uli nga wala nahuman ang iyang kontrata, pwede siya nga muapil niining assistance,” Mesias said.

(We prioritize those who do not want to go back abroad. If he or she is a member of OWWA, at least within three years upon going home without ending his or her contract, he or she may be able to avail the assistance)

For non-members, Mesias said they are referred to the National Reintegration Center Office (NRCO) where livelihood assistance is also available. 

Furthermore, OWWA-10 implements the Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Pag-unlad ng Samahang OFWs Program (Tulong Puso) that offers one-time cash support to OFW groups. This program, which entails a preparatory stage, training and monitoring, is intended to stimulate economic activity in communities.

To provide necessary assistance to OFWs, OWWA-10 has a database where the OFWs are identified and evaluated if they deserve the assistance from the government. 

For the children of OFWs, OWWA-10 offers scholarship programs particularly for college students. 

Those who would want to improve or acquire new skills, OWWA-10 provides technical-vocational courses both for the OFW and their dependents. For seafarers, OWWA-10 offers upgrading courses so they can easily raise their ranks. 

Noting the many benefits that OWWA-10 could offer, Mesias urges OFWs to become a member of the agency and to never forget to renew their membership every two years. He also reminded OFWs to observe health protocols, especially at work to protect themselves against COVID-19 and their families. (RTP/PIA-10)

 

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