Recently, an announcement was made by different Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) regarding the suspension of cash aid applications for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). But after a few hours, the announcement was retracted by DOLE, saying that it “was inadvertently released”.
As per the public advisory released by DOLE to reporters today, April 22, around 2 p.m., it was confirmed that there are POLO offices abroad who had suspended their acceptance of cash aid applications from OFWs.
“The Department of Labor and Employment wishes to inform our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that some of our Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) [have] already suspended the acceptance of DOLE-AKAP (AbotKamayangPagtulong) applications for on-site OFWs,” says in the advisory. The reason for this suspension is that they already “exceeded their respective allocations.”
The DOLE-AKAP program of the government has a budget amounting to P1.5 billion which was originally sourced from the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP).
“With a said limited budget, only 150,000 OFWs out of the million Filipinos overseas can be accommodated under the assistance program,” the first advisory said. “We appeal to the public’s understanding as we try to find alternative ways to attend/cater to the needs of our OFWs affected by this pandemic,” it added.
But DOLE retracted (TOOK BACK) their first announcement just a few hours after it was released.
“Please be advised that the Public Advisory is a WRONG announcement,” says the director of DOLE’s Information and Publication Service RollyFrancia. “This Public Advisory was inadvertently released. WE APOLOGIZE for this error.”
As of April 22, there are already 1,084 Filipino workers abroad who contracted COVID-19, 662 are still undergoing treatment, 269 already recovered and 153 expired.