Almost 339,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFW), who were affected by the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19), were given cash aid by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said they already released P3.45 billion for the said beneficiaries of the initial tranche of their Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (Akap) program.
The Akap is a one-time P10,000 or $200-cash aid given by the DOLE to Covid-affected OFWs.
With the said development, the DOLE has now nearly exhausted the initial P3.5-billion budget allocation for Akap.
In a SMS, International Labor Affairs Bureau (Ilab) Director Alice Q. Visperas told the BusinessMirror they will soon be tapping the additional P2 billion Akap funding under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), which was finally released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
The amount was downloaded last week to DOLE’s regional offices and Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (Polo), which will facilitate its distribution to qualified Akap beneficiaries.
The DOLE expects a faster distribution of cash aid under the second round of Akap once they roll out their new online registration system on Monday.
Instead of registering at dole-akap.owwa.gov.ph., Akap beneficiaries must now submit their applications at the oasis.owwa.gov.ph.
“This will allow the offices of the [Overseas Workers Welfare Administration] to process and evaluate the applications in advance,” Bello said.
Bello, however, noted that stranded Balik-Manggagawa and seafarers whose deployment were suspended due to Covid-19 as well as those who have been and will be repatriated before November 30, 2020, will still have to submit their applications at dole-akap.owwa.gov.ph.
As for displaced OFWs, who will remain onsite, they must file their application through the Polo covering their workplace.
Visperas said the new system is expected to shorten the processing for Akap applications from at least five days to only three to five days, instead.
The labor department has received 683,369 applications for Akap since it was launched last April.
Of these applications, 389.996 was approved by government agency.
Paano kopo mapalitan ang requairments ko kase mali daw po so nag registered ako ulit ayaw na tanggapin