The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) announced on Thursday (November 25, 2021) that the Philippine government has been able to assist 803,521 repatriated overseas Filipino workers who were impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic (COVID-19).
According to a report shared by Philippine News Agency, OWWA shared that more than 800,000 OFWs have returned home since the start of the pandemic last year.
Distressed OFWs Assisted by Philippine Government
According to the International Labour Organization, the COVID-19 crisis resulted in over 125 million job losses worldwide. Many of our OFWs became helpless when the pandemic struck and so the government launched a massive repatriation drive never done before.
The government spent a lot of money to charter flights and provide rooms for the repatriated overseas Filipino workers, who were quarantined in hotels and subjected to COVID-19 testing.
Number of OFWs Repatriated
The highest number of OFWs was sent home to countries during the period Nov. 15 to Dec. 12, 2020, when 56,925 people were repatriated.
The highest amount in 2021 was 45,703 visitors during the period of October 17 to November 13.
DOLE Secretary Bello assured migrant workers overseas that as long as there are OFWs affected by the pandemic and want to go home, the Repatriation Program will be continued.
In a post shared on the official Twitter account of OWWA Chief, Hans Leo Cacdac, he shared that since May 2020, OWWA has assisted 800,000 OFWs by providing them with food, quarantining them, and transporting them back to their home areas.
Below is a post from Twitter about this figure:
“We have hit the 800k mark in terms of OFWs given food, quarantined, and transported to their home regions since May 2020. That’s 800k OFWs personally assisted, swabbed, monitored, and transported by DOLE-OWWA, DFA, DOTr-CAAP-PCG-MIAA, DOH-BOA, DOT, DILG, PNP, LGUs, and DND-AFP.” said OWWA Chief Hans Leo Cacdac
Philippine Government Agencies who Assisted in the Repatriation of OFWs
There have been other agencies that assisted in the repatriation program of these distressed OFWs, including the Department of Transportation, Department of Health, DOLE-OWWA, Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippine Coast Guard, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Manila International Airport Authority.
This has been a collaborative effort with other PH government agencies with each rendering assistance to the OFWs. Other agencies include the Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, Department of Tourism, and local government offices.
OFW Repatriation Process
Repatriated OFWs, upon arrival at the Philippine airport, were then transferred to their quarantine hotels in Metro Manila and nearby areas, where they would wait for their test results.
After getting a negative test result for the coronavirus, they would be transferred and transported by land and air to their final destinations.
Those destined for Luzon will be sent to Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange, whereas those heading to Visayas and Mindanao will be ferried to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.
The Philippine agencies have been helping OFWs and this is a great feat to be celebrated given how difficult the past 2 years have been to us all. The government was able to act fast by sending these distressed OFWs back home through the Repatriation Program.
DOLE-AKAP Cash Support
For Filipinos affected by the pandemic, please be advised that there is also DOLE-AKAP cash assistance worth PHP 10,000. This is a project initiated to provide financial assistance to OFWs to have some form of allowance after losing their jobs, had salary deductions, or those who were sent home due to company closures.
So it is advised that if you are an OFW affected by the pandemic, you may apply for this DOLE-AKAP ‘Ayuda’ assistance for support.