Gov’t spends more than P1.5-B for repatriated OFWs cash subsidies

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Malacañang revealed that the national government has spent nearly ₱1.5 billion worth of cash aid to repatriated overseas Filipino workers and brought home more than 50,000 migrant workers amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Under the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong for OFWs or AKAP program, 155,230 OFWs received financial assistance from the government. This program has has received an additional ₱1 billion funding to cover more 250,000 workers. The initial ₱1.5 billion budget already reached 139,000 beneficiaries who received a cumulative ₱1.44 billion, as they got $200 (about ₱10,000) each through overseas labor offices to help them cope with the pandemic.

The program had 418,142 applicants, of which 145,472 were approved, according to Department of Labor and Employment’s data.

Currently, the government is trying to address the dire need to send home locally stranded individuals as it looks to implement the “Balik Probinsya” program, which encourages Filipinos to return to rural areas to decongest Metro Manila, the country’s main commercial hub. Some 764 passengers looking to catch a flight or bus ride home have been transferred to the Villamor Air Base Elementary School and the Philippine State College of Aeronautics for temporary shelter, after some were found sleeping near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and even under the NAIA Expressway.

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