Sec Ople of DMW orders P20M support fund for OFW families affected by earthquake

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House of member of ATIS, photo from M. Ballena

Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople said that DMW is allocating a P20-million support and assistance fund for families of OFWs affected by the recent 7.3 magnitude earthquake that hit northern Luzon.

“This is just an initial allotment to help OFW families affected by the earthquake. I have directed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to immediately provide help and find out what other forms of assistance the DMW can provide,” Sec Ople said. “We will wait for the damage assessment report made by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to determine which regions and areas are most affected so we can prioritize OFW families there,” Sec Ople added.

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)’ group from Abra Tinguian Ilocano Society ( ATIS) welcomed the announcement made by Secretary Ople of the DMW.

“We are grateful for the immediate assistance offered by Sec Ople of DMW to our families who were affected by the earthquake”, said Maricel Ballena, Vice President of ATIS.

She said that many of the families of members of their group, about 40% of 210 members from the areas, were affected.  Some who were not able to stay in their houses because of the series of aftershocks stayed outside in tents while others went to evacuation centers.

However, she said that they were not aware of the procedures on how to avail of the said support, and as a result, they were not included in the list from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Abra.

“The welfare assistance offer is good but they should have been prompt in giving instructions to the barangay and LGG about this”, Ballena mentioned in a message sent to HKNEWS.

The DMW Secretary also said she is in discussion with the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), or PAG-IBIG Fund, to facilitate emergency loan applications for OFW families affected by the earthquake.

The Secretary said affected families applying for DMW financial assistance can file their applications with the nearest OWWA office in their regions.

They only need to show proof that at least one member of the family is an OFW currently deployed overseas, she said.

Once verified, the applications shall be endorsed for financial assistance. The one-time allocation can be used for food, medicines, groceries, water, or any items the OFW family needs immediately