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PH gov’t gives P80-M cash aid to OFWs affected by travel ban

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The government has provided over PHP80 million worth of financial assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were stranded due to the travel ban imposed on China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.

“Statistics for BAP (Beneficiaries Availment Program) NCOV (Novel Coronavirus) Relief, as of February 19, 2020, 16:11 pm, Total Released: 8,060. Total Amount Released: PHP80,600,000,” Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.

At the same time, Cacdac announced that they have stopped providing PHP10,000 cash assistance to OFWs from Taiwan.

Cacdac, meanwhile, said they will only accept cash benefit applications from affected OFWs in Macao and Hong Kong until Wednesday.

“Simula po bukas ay hindi na tayo tatanggap ng applications mula sa mga (Starting tomorrow (Thursday), we will no longer accept applications from) HK & Macao OFWs,” he said.

The government has lifted the travel ban to Taiwan on February 14. Meanwhile, only OFWs are allowed to travel to the two Chinese special administrative regions (SARs) after the ban was lifted on Tuesday.

The Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease recommended the lifting of the ban to Hong Kong and Macao following several requests made by OFWs concerned that they may lose their jobs if they fail to resume work after their vacation leave.

OFWs bound for the two Chinese territories will first be required to prepare a “written declaration” stating that they are aware of the risk associated with the disease.

The temporary travel ban was imposed due to Covid-19 cases recorded in these areas. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)

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