The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on November 6, 2020, it has received over 600,000 applications from displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for its Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program.
DOLE-International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) Director Alice Visperas reported that over half of the number have received their one-time cash aid amounting to PHP10,000 ($200) cash assistance.
“We have received more than 600,000 applicants and out of the number or over more than 300,000 of them have been paid and we have still 300,000 plus who are waiting,” she said in a virtual forum.
A total of 322,409 Filipino workers abroad and those who have returned to the country have received the cash aid amounting to a total of PHP3.282 billion from the PHP3.5 billion allocation under Bayanihan to Heal as One or Bayanihan 1.
Of the over 300,000 waiting applicants, the ILAB head added that more than 70,000 have been denied due to several reasons.
“Unfortunately, there were applications that have been denied. These are the double or triple applications. The system automatically denies them, they are over 70,000,” she said. “So we will have over 200,000 remaining. Out of that, more than half from overseas and then the rest are in the country.”
She said they expect to pay the remaining OFWs from the PHP2-billion allocation under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).
At the same time, the ILAB official reported that there are some 79,000 OFWs that have opted to stay in the country where they are working.
She added that the number was originally at 104,000 as reported by the DOLE earlier, but the number decreased as some of them were able to go back to work or have been repatriated.
“At present, the total number of OFWs that opted to stay onsite is 79,780,” Visperas added. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)