PH labor chief: All college-level kids of displaced OFWs may get scholarship aid

Image title

Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello. (DOLE-IPS)

Philippine Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III reminded Monday that there are no additional requirements to avail of the scholarship aid for children of displaced overseas Filipino workers.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) allocated cash aid to qualified college-level dependents of OFWs last October, under the Educational Assistance through Scholarship in Emergencies (EASE) Program.

Under the program, qualified college-level children of OFWs who were active members in OWWA during the time of their repatriation when the pandemic began will receive PHP10,000 annually for a maximum of 4 years.

“As long as you are a son or a daughter of a displaced OFW you are entitled to this scholarship fund,” Bello told Hong Kong News Monday.

The OWWA is already shouldering the expenses for the one-time PHP10,000 cash aid granted to OFWs displaced due to the pandemic. Applications were put on hold in mid-May because of the deluge of applications from repatriated workers and the lack of funds.

The OWWA Board of Trustees will allot PHP400 million of the agency’s funds for the first year of the project’s implementation. Bello assured that the separate budget is sufficient for the EASE program. 

Labor Undersecretary Renato Ebarle told Hong Kong News that it is imperative that the government prioritize the needs of not just the OFWs but also their dependents.

“Of course it is important. The assistance is for the education of their children,” Ebarle said.

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

Bello added that around 100,000 repatriated OFWs are expected to return to Manila by the end of the year.