DOLE had long announced that they will be giving 10,000 cash assistance for OFWs affected by the Covid19 pandemic. And many OFWs have longed and waited for the DOLEs guidelines for the said assistance in the hope to receive help from the government.
However, when the most anticipated day has come and DOLE announced their guidelines for OFWs to avail of the program, it is disappointing to the OFWs as the majority of them are not included in the said program.
In the recent interview by Filipino Times with Labor Secretary Silvestre Belo III, he clearly stated that ‘no work, no pay’ are not qualified to avail of the assistance that only those who are terminated from their work and those repatriated can avail.
He also clarifies that OFWs who have salary cuts are not included as well.
“Hindi po kasama… ‘Yun lang talagang nawalan ng trabaho. Para ito dun sa lahat ng nakauwi na dahil nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa COVID-19, eh mabibigyan sila ng cash assistance $200 kung nandyan pa sila abroad o yung peso yung equivalent kung nandito na sila sa Pilipinas,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Belo III told The Filipino Times.
Only 150,000 terminated OFWs including those who have been repatriated due to the Covid19 pandemic will receive the Php1.5 billion budget assistance.
The majority of the OFWs are greatly hurt and disappointed by DOLEs decision to not include them on the cash assistance.
Meanwhile, Ka Bong, an advocate for distress OFWs had talked with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and respectfully informed the Secretary about the OFWs concern but Secretary Bello III only said that those who are terminated and repatriated are the main priorities for cash assistance. Added that if there will be remaining cash they will give it to the ‘no work, no pay’ OFWs.
OFWs are aware of the government’s effort to help everyone and they understand that. But they call on to the government to not skip the fact that though they are not terminated, they still don’t have income. They also hope that the government will look into DOLEs exclusion of the OFWs family in the Philippines for cash assistance.