The labor department has provided cash, food and medical assistance to 81,388 overseas Filipino workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in various locations across the globe.

Aside from the one-time $200 cash assistance given to OFWs under the AKAP program, DOLE likewise distributed food packs, face masks and medicines through the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in 40 foreign posts.

Citing POLO reports, Undersecretary Claro Arellano said 3,637 OFWs from Asia and the Pacific received food and medical relief while 66,271 come from Middle East and Africa, and another 9,403 from Europe and Americas as of Friday, May 29.

In Kuwait alone, the POLO distributed food packs to 28,179 OFWs, while there were 9,358 beneficiaries in Jeddah and 7,723 in Qatar. Meanwhile, the POLOs in the UAE reached out to 3,437 OFWs with Abu Dhabi having 1,820 beneficiaries and Dubai with 1,617.

On top of the food and medical assistance, OFWs who were found COVID positive were likewise given $200 cash assistance by OWWA. To date 2,077 COVID positive OFWs onsite received the cash assistance of whom 1,937 are landbased and 140 are seabased OFWs. Lebanon registered the most number of COVID-19 positive beneficiaries at 1,104.

Arellano said the DOLE, through its POLOs worldwide will continue its intensified campaign to help all onsite OFWs affected by the pandemic which has reached more than 320,000.