OFW repatriates arriving in the Philippines receive from the government not just assistance services on welfare, employment, livelihood, and legal matters (Assist WELL), but also relevant and useful information on how and where to avail of such services.
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said this yesterday as the Welfare Assistance Committee under the DOLE’s Assist WELL Program began to distribute flyers in English and Filipino describing the various WELL programs and services and instructing OFW repatriates on where and how to avail of these.
“We are working to ensure an effective and successful reintegration of overseas Filipino workers repatriated from crisis/emergency situations in their countries of deployment by reaching out to them through the distribution of flyers containing relevant, important, and useful information,” Baldoz said.
“We wanted to be able to effectively convey to all OFWs, especially to those who were forced to leave their jobs abroad for reasons not of their own making, that the government is prepared to welcome them in their own country and is ready to address their welfare, employment, livelihood, and legal needs after they arrive,” she added.
The Assist WELL Program flyers are being distributed at the airport where repatriated OFWs are assisted by OWWA personnel. The OWWA heads the program’s Welfare Assistance Committee.
The flyers contain information on what the program is all about, what it offers them, and the contact details of all DOLE, OWWA, and POEA Regional Offices with jurisdiction over the area of their residence to make it really easy for them to avail of the assistance offered by the program.
A component of the National Reintegration Program for OFWs, the Assist WELL Program provides welfare, employment, livelihood, and legal assistance to the repatriates.
On welfare assistance, the DOLE, through the OWWA, provides airport assistance; temporary shelter and accommodation; transport assistance to residence; emergency medical assistance; and stress debriefing
Through the POEA, Bureau of Local Employment, and TESDA, it provides employment assistance in the form of job placement/referral for local employment or overseas employment; and competency assessment and certification for repatriated workers who wish to confirm whether they possess the competencies required in a preferred workplace.
The DOLE, through the OWWA, National Reintegration Center for OFWs, and the Bureau of Workers with Special Concers, in coordination with DOLE regional offices, offers livelihood assistance, such as entrepreneurial development training; livelihood skills training; hands-on business mentoring and support; and business loan assistance.
Three of the popular DOLE livelihood programs are the P10-K Livelihood Assistance, Balik-Pinay, Balik-Hanapbuhay Program, and the P2-B Reintegration Loan Fund.
Lastly, under legal assistance, the POEA provides legal advice, conciliation proceeding to afford repatriated workers and their recruitment agencies a venue to discuss the possibility of amicable settlement; assistance in the preparation and filing of complaints for illegal recruitment, recruitment violation, and disciplinary action cases; and counselling during preliminary investigation and hearings of criminal cases for illegal recruitment.
Relative to this, Secretary Baldoz has directed all DOLE program implementers under the Assist WELL Program, especially those in the regions and provinces, to ensure that all their delivery systems are in sync and responsive to the needs of repatriate OFWs.