No more applying: Returning OFWs to get P10K cash aid upon arrival in Manila

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Testing at the airport in the Philippines. (FILE PHOTO/PIA.GOV.PH)

Repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) displaced due to the COVID-19 pandemic will get P10,000 cash assistance upon their arrival in Manila.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III gave the order on Wednesday, acknowledging delays in giving out the cash aid to OFWs since the beginning of the quarantine.

“Why do we have to wait for the OFWs to apply? We know they were displaced because of COVID-19 and therefore they deserve the financial assistance.” Bello said in an online news briefing.

The Philippines’ labour chief said the financial aid should be ready and handed to them upon arrival at the airport.

This is a change from the earlier set-up of the DOLE-OWWA AKAP fund, where repatriated OFWs need to apply for cash assistance and wait for their applications to be processed and approved. 

The OFW may still submit documents to prove job loss due to the pandemic. But Bello said DOLE would not wait for these if it already had the OFW’s records.

“So long as we have proof that they are OFWs and they were displaced, we will give them assistance,” he said.

After President Rodrigo Duterte ordered on Monday that displaced workers who haven’t gotten cash aid from the government must be able to get them by Christmas, Bello said he discussed this with other labour officials.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported 37,095 OFWs had returned to the Philippines in October alone, and a total of 237,363 OFWs have been repatriated since the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The DFA also stressed that they are expecting more than 107,000 Filipinos to be flown to Manila by the end of the year.