Close to 86,000 overseas Filipino workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have been extended assistance under the AKAP program of the labor department, it was reported over the weekend.
The Department of Labor and Employment also said its Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in 40 posts across the globe and the offices of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in the country already received 336,809 requests for assistance from both onsite and repatriated OFWs as of May 1.
Of the total applications, 85,849 OFWs were qualified and granted the one-time P10,000 or $200 cash assistance from the P1.5-billion emergency aid program for OFWs who were displaced from their jobs due to lockdowns in their host countries or stranded by the community quarantine in the Philippines.
Of the approved requests, 54,602 were processed on-site or in various POLOs and 31,247 were evaluated by OWWA.
The number of approved assistance, from both land and sea-based workers, represents more than 50 percent of the target beneficiaries of 150,000 OFWs, DOLE said.
DOLE has so far disbursed P482.9 million to 47,239 qualified OFWs.
The pay-outs by POLOs to 26,500 OFWs stood at P275.6 million pesos and represents 40 percent of the allocated budget.
For repatriated workers or balik-manggagawa, OWWA has approved 31,247 beneficiaries and released to 20,739 OFWs the amount of P207,300,000 which is around 41 percent of the budget allocated for repatriates or balik-manggagawa.
Aside from displaced migrant workers who were displaced from their jobs due to lockdown or community quarantine, also eligible for AKAP assistance are OFWs who were repatriated for having been infected, or suspected to have been infected with COVID-19.
OFWs who are stranded in their job sites and/or experience “no work, no pay” due to pandemic since 01 March 2020 are also eligible for the cash aid.