Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III yesterday issued a Memorandum directing DOLE concerned offices to strengthen the operations and services of the Assist WELL Center to ensure the provision of necessary assistance to returning overseas Filipino workers, especially those from the Middle East.
“The concerned DOLE offices must ensure that they are ready to provide assistance to our OFWs who are affected by the drop of oil price in the Middle East,” said Bello, adding that Assist WELL (Welfare, Employment, Legal, and Livelihood) is a package of comprehensive reintegration assistance and services that addresses the welfare, employment, livelihood, and legal assistance needs of repatriates and returning OFWs.
Bello ordered the DOLE offices and agencies to update the package of services and interventions provided to OFW returnees and to ensure that all components are enrolled in the Assist WELL e-Tracking System for easier monitoring of the status of the assistance.
He also said that the said offices and agencies must make sure that all the Assist WELL Centers are manned by competent personnel. “There should always be regular senior level officers to take care of the day-to-day management of the Centers,” said Bello.
The Memorandum states that all home-based labor attaches and personnel for deployment who are under the immersion program are assigned to the Assist WELL Centers.
The Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) shall also register in the Assist WELL e-Tracking System to expedite the provision of assistance for repatriated OFWs.
The free services offered by the Assist WELL Center are stress debriefing or counselling by OWWA; local employment referral or job placement by DOLE Bureau of Local Employment; overseas employment referral or placement by POEA and its regional centers or extension offices; livelihood assistance by OWWA and NRCO; legal assistance or conciliation services by the POEA, DOLE regional offices, and the Regional Coordinating Councils; and competency assessment and training assistance by TESDA.
At the National Capital Region, three Assist Well Processing Centers are established in the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO).
Assist WELL Processing Centers are also set up in the DOLE Regional Offices, under the supervision of the DOLE Regional Directors. These Centers are operated by designated technical and administrative personnel of the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) members, which is comprised of DOLE Regional Office, POEA Regional Extension Center or Extension Office, the OWWA Regional Office, TESDA Regional Office, the NRCO, and other RCC office members.