More than 30,000 college students who are dependents of repatriated, displaced, and deceased overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are set to benefit from a P1-billion scholarship fund to be rolled out by the government this year.
This was announced by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III after signing a memorandum of agreement on the provision of educational assistance with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Chairman Prospero De Vera III in a simple ceremony in Quezon City on September 25, 2020.
Dubbed “Tabang OFW,” the program entitles one college-level dependent of a repatriated, displaced, or deceased OFW to receive one-time financial assistance of P30,000, thus help in augmenting their education expenses.
In his remarks, Bello said the assistance is just among the many ways the government is reciprocating the contributions of OFWs to the country.
“We hope this will go a long way in helping our OFWs and their children in these most challenging times. By doing this, we also hope we can partly repay our modern-day heroes,” Bello said.
Under the agreement, the DOLE shall issue orders, circulars, or guidelines that will spell out the effective and efficient implementation of the program, including the appropriate utilization of funds, adherence to the usual government accounting and auditing rules, and submission of reports.
The CHED, on the other hand, will release the funds amounting to P1 billion to DOLE for the implementation of the educational assistance program to the qualified college children dependents of the said OFWs.
As for UniFAST, the agency shall assist DOLE on the promotion and other information dissemination activities of the program and jointly work in crafting the guidelines, coverage, and criteria in availing the subsidy under the Tabang OFW program.
To date, more than 220,000 OFWs affected by the Covid pandemic have been repatriated by the government.