Another P1 billion was allotted by the Budget Department to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to provide cash assistance to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, says Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
This additional fund will increase the allocation of the previous P1.5 billion budget for the AbotKamay and Pagtulong (AKAP) program of DOLE.
“We will live with that, hangga’t meron pa, ibibigay natin sa mga OFW, kasi kailangang kailangan nila yan,” said Bello as they are short of P2.5 billion as previously requested.
Initially, the target number of OFWs to benefit the financial assistance from the government is 150,000, land-based, and sea-based. However, there are currently 411,000 OFWs who applied of this P10,000 cash assistance and 100,000 applications were already approved.
Bello also denied that the Labor Department already stopped accepting AKAP applications. “Fake news ‘yan, tuloy-tuloy pa ang pagtanggap namin ng application for cash assistance,” says Bello.
DOLE’s AKAP program is the government’s initiative to help OFWs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This financial assistance was rolled out by DOLE since March. They also realigned their 2020 budget to further give 300,000 more workers from the formal sector cash assistance amounting to P5,000.