The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has already spent over PHP381 million for food, transportation and accommodation assistance for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were stranded in the country due to implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to stop the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“The total cost which we have incurred since March 15 is PHP381,273,938, on food, hotels, transport broken down as follows: hotels, Php311,741,570. Sa (In) food, PHP59,795,225 and transport PHP9,737,143. So roughly in hotels per capita. The total is at per capita, PHP381 million with 26,000 beneficiaries,” said OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac in an online press briefing Monday.
Cacdac added that this is equivalent to spending around PHP15,000 per OFW.
Cacdac also assured that the agency has additional funds for a possible ECQ extension but they will ask Congress and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for additional funding.
“We can still manage. We are not in the red. We are financially healthy. But we have special request assistance from Congress assistance and DBM assistance to augment our funds. What we want to do is that the OWWA trust fund will be utilized for members in a post lockdown scenario because the money we need right now, we will need it after the lockdown has been lifted,” Cacdac said.
Cacdac said based on the letter to Congress signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, they are asking for PHP2.5 billion as additional funds.
Cacdac said the additional funds will be used for different programs to help assist the affected OFWs.
“It will be used to augment our funds so we could spare the OWWA Trust Fund for reintegration, livelihood, reskilling, retooling. Skills investment efforts post lockdown. So during the lockdown, we are hoping for Congress and DBM to help us,” Cacdac said. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)