MANILA, Philippines – More than half a million overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who were displaced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic have been repatriated by the government, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.
Citing a report from Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) head Hans Leo Cacdac, DOLE said 502,581 Filipino repatriates have been safely transported back to their home provinces after undergoing COVID-19 tests and quarantine protocols in various hotels.
The latest batch of repatriates consisted of 1,471 OFWs who were sent home on Saturday, DOLE said.
Meanwhile, a separate report from DOLE’s International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) showed there are 645,071 OFWs affected by the pandemic.
Of this number, 627,576 were displaced by the public health crisis. Around 49,698 of them requested repatriation while 75,297 opted to stay on site.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III assured that the government continues to provide assistance to displaced and affected Filipino workers.
So far, DOLE’s Abot Kamay sa Pagtulong (AKAP) assistance program has extended P5.043 billion to 497,122 OFWs.
AKAP is one-time cash assistance of $200 or P10,000 for each qualified affected/displaced OFW.
Aside from AKAP, DOLE also provides financial aid, food and medical aid to COVID infected OFWs.
To date, it has extended a total of $1.93 million in cash assistance to 9,667 OFW COVID patients. Another $2.6 million in medical and food aid has been extended to 124,945 OFWs, DOLE said.