DOLE brings home 500,000 migrant workers

The Labor department has repatriated more than half a million overseas Filipino workers who were displaced by the pandemic.

In a report to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration head Hans Leo Cacdac said 502,581 OFW repatriates have been safely transported back to their home provinces after undergoing COVID tests and quarantine protocols in various hotels.

The latest batch of repatriates consisted of 1,471 OFWs who were sent home on Black Saturday.

A separate report of DOLE’s International Labor Affairs Bureau showed there were 645,071 OFWs affected by the pandemic, 627,576 of whom were displaced. ILAB Director Alice Visperas said 49,698 of those displaced OFWs had requested for repatriation while 75,297 opted to stay on site.

ILAB records also showed an increasing number of OFWs infected with the disease. As of April 4, ILAB recorded 17,495 confirmed cases among OFWs based on reports submitted by the 40 Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in various parts of the world. Of this figure, 10,155 recovered with 938 deaths.

Bello said the government continues to provide assistance to displaced OFWs.

“Our government will not renege on its commitment to provide the needed assistance to our OFWs. We will continue to assist them for as long as it takes,” Bello said.

So far, DOLE’s AKAP assistance has extended P5.043 billion to 497,122 OFWs, he said.

AKAP is a one-time cash assistance of $200 or P10,000 for each qualified affected/displaced OFW.

DOLE also provides financial aid, food and medical aid to COVID -infected OFWs. It has extended a total of $1.93 million in cash assistance to 9,667 OFW Covid patients. Another $2.6 million in medical and food aid has been extended to 124,945 OFWs.  

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