The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is ready to extend assistance to an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who perished in the maritime incident off Iloilo Strait over the weekend.
This was the assurance given by Regional Director Wilfreda L. Misterio of OWWA Western Visayas when she visited the wake of Claire Faith Segovia at the Guimaras provincial gym in Brgy. San Miguel, Jordan on Wednesday.
“Just now we found out that there’s another one who was supposed to process her papers back to Oman. We found out she’s an OWWA member so she is entitled to benefits,” she said.
As an OWWA member, Segovia’s legal beneficiaries shall be getting PHP200,000 death benefits plus PHP20,000 burial assistance.
“On top of that there will also be livelihood assistance for their beneficiaries worth PHP15,000,” the regional director added.
Segovia, who hails from Brgy. San Roque, Nueva Valencia, decided to cross to Guimaras onboard MB Chi Chi to visit her mother Alma who is recuperating after a motorcycle accident.
Her mother texted her not to proceed because the weather was not good. The victim’s last text message was that she was already on board the said motor banca.
Segovia worked as a supervisor in a restaurant in Oman for about five years.
Aside from Segovia, three other fatalities: Jaquelyn Alferez, Andrew Valenzuela, and Eden Perales are also OFWs working as teachers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“They were all teachers so I think it’s vacation time for them but they are not from here,” Misterio said. Their legal beneficiaries are advised to coordinate with the nearest OWWA office to process their benefits.
Meantime, the regional director said that if there are OFW survivors who sustained major injuries out of the accident, then they also can get assistance under OWWA’s Welfare Assistance Program for Disability.
“It will be our doctor who is assessing the level of disability,” she said.
Meanwhile, apart from receiving assistance, Segovia’s mother hoped that the death of her daughter will be given justice.
“Concerned agencies must be given a lesson,” she said.
She added that motor banca operators should have life jackets for passengers.
On the other hand, as efforts are focused on helping the families of the fatalities, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will also be extending emergency cash-for-work to those who were affected by the suspension of motor banca trips.
Engineer Cyril Ticao, DOLE Western Visayas Regional Director, in an interview Wednesday, said they will start with the emergency employment under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) and later on proceed with the provision of livelihood support.
“We will be profiling to identify the beneficiaries,” he said. They target to extend the program to the crew of motor bancas and immediate family members of the casualties and survivors.
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VI as of Wednesday already released PHP1.88 million in aid to affected individuals and families.
The amount covers the PHP620,000 burial assistance at PHP20,000 each for casualties; PHP650,000 financial assistance at PHP10,000 each for survivors; and PHP17,356 worth of non-food items such as blankets, towels, “malong” (traditional tube skirt), plastic mats and used clothing.
DSWD Regional Director Ma. Evelyn B. Macapobre said that the agency is having an “ongoing needs assessment of pump boat crew for possible livelihood aid.”
She said that those who will be eligible can be granted the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) assistance. (Perla Lena, PNA)