P32.88-M released to 3,288 OFWs from Libya; 3,473 assisted under Assist WELL Program–Baldoz

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, an attached agency of the DOLE, has released a total of P32.880 million to 3,288 OFWs from Libya as of 3 September under the OWWA’s Financial Relief Assistance Program.

Citing a report by the National Reintegration Center for OFWs, Baldoz said 3,473 overseas Filipino workers repatriated from Libya have also been assisted by the DOLE through its Assist WELL Program.

“The 3,473 OFWs assisted  through the  Assist WELL program as of 3 September 2014 have requested for a total of 10,766 assistance of various types. Most of the OFWs have requested three or more assistance under the program,” said Baldoz.

She added that aside from the Assist WELL Program assistance, some of the OFWs were also allowed to use cellular phones by the assigned duty officers of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) at the airports upon their arrival. They were also assisted in the processing of their documents before they exited the airports in Manila.

Assist WELL is a package of comprehensive reintegration assistance and services to  ensure that returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who voluntarily sign up for repatriation, or those who are compelled to go home under mandatory repatriation due to crises or emergency situations, are successfully reintegrated in the mainstream of Philippine society.

Through the program, agencies and offices of the DOLE concerned with local and overseas employment and the provision of welfare services for OFWs, have converged to address the Welfare, Employment, Legal, and Livelihood needs of repatriated OFWs.
These agencies and offices are the OWWA, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Bureau of Local Employment, Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns, National Reintegration Center for OFWs, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, International Labor Affairs Bureau, and the Labor Communications Office.

Most of the  OFW returnees–2,276 of them–or 66 percent, requested for assistance in finding overseas jobs. About 401  OFWs, or 63 percent, asked for transportation in going to their provinces; while 1,779  OFWs, or 51 percent, have requested for livelihood assistance. Some 1,276  OFWs, or 37 percent, requested for local employment.

Last week, the DOLE offered over 12,000 job vacancies in a special job fair for OFW returnees at the Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City, 5,601 of which were for local employment, while the rest were for overseas. Of the 384 OFW repatriates who registered for the special  job fair, 187 were hired for local job opportunities.

Other assistance requested and the number of repatriates who requested them are as follows: scholarship or training, 945 (27 percent); legal assistance, 774 (22 percent); temporary accommodation, 541 (21 percent); medical assistance,  353 (10  percent);  and stress debriefing/counseling, 213 (six  percent). Some OFWs also requested direct financial assistance; medical assistance for a family member; financial loan/loan for business; scholarship for OFW dependents; refund for placement fee, and claims for unpaid salary.

The NRCO report said that majority of the OFWs assisted under the Assist WELL Program, or 2510, are active OWWA members, while  830  are not. About 133 OFWs repatriated have no record.

A total of 853 OFWs, or 25 percent, came from Region 4-A; while 630, or 18  percent, came from Region 3. About 507, or 15 percent, came from the National Capital Region; 275, or eight percent, are  from Region 6 (Western Visayas); 191 or six percent are from Region 5 (Bicol region); 171, or five percent are from Region 1 (Cagayan Valley); 133, or four percent, are from Region 7 (Central Visayas); 111, or three percent, are from Region 10 (Northern Mindanao); and 99, or three percent  are from Region 8
(Eastern Visayas).

END/letmaring

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