The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Negros Occidental provincial government provided livelihood and scholarship assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their dependents at rites held at the Capitol in Bacolod City today, December 10.
OWWA released P460,000 in livelihood assistance to 23 displaced and distressed OFWs under the Balik Pinas Balik Hanap Buhay Program and P260,000 to 13 beneficiaries under Project Alalay sa Pag-aaral, Rizza Joy Moldes, OWWA regional director, said.
The Negros Occidental provincial government also provided an additional P20,000 each, she said.
The distribution was conducted at a forum on the migration, development, and reintegration of OFWs in Negros Occidental.
Moldes said since the COVID-19 pandemic hit 56,000 OFWs have returned to Western Visayas, 9,600 of whom are from Negros Occidental.
Those who have returned were either displaced workers, vacationing OFWs, or those who have completed their contracts, she said, adding that December is the traditional peak period for their arrivals.
She said eight OFWs from WV have succumbed to COVID-19, three of who are from Negros Occidental.
So far P136 million in financial assistance has been released to 13,600 OFWs who have returned to Western Visayas at P10,000 each, with an ongoing evaluation for more recipients, Moldes said.
The OWWA has also provided P120,000 in assistance to families of OFWs who have succumbed to natural deaths and P220,000 for those who died in accidents, she said.
Scholarship assistance is provided to the children of OFWs who passed away and P15,000 to their spouses, Moldes said.
OFWs who do not plan on returning to their jobs abroad can avail of livelihood grants, she said.
Lacson said the pandemic caused the displacement of thousands of Filipino migrant workers all over the world, and there is a need to create more economic opportunities for them in the country.
“We shall not waiver in our efforts to boost the positive, and reduce the negative effects of labor migration, and to protect our fellow Negrenses who leave in the hope of finding a better future for their families in lands not their own,” he said.
He added that the effective collaboration between the national government, LGUs, non-government organizations (NGOs), and other stakeholders is necessary to successfully address the multi-faceted concerns of the Filipino migrant workers.*