Gov’t programs available for OFWs displaced by pandemic
By Ferdinand Patinio
MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday enumerated several programs to mitigate the effects of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“We have many programs for our OFWs who have returned to the country due to this pandemic. We have the Balik Pilipinas, Balik Hanapbuhay Livelihood program where we will provide PHP20,000-cash assistance. Some opt to put up carinderia (eatery), some want to have their own welding shop,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said during a pre-SONA Forum aired over state-run PTV-4.
The livelihood support/assistance package will give relief to returning member-OFWs (distressed/displaced) amounting to a maximum of PHP20,000 as a start-up or additional capital for a livelihood project.
Bello added that under the “Sa ‘Pinas, Ikaw ang Ma’am at Sir” (SPIMS) program, teachers who worked as OFWs are encouraged to return to the country and practice their profession.
“For those who have teaching experience, we have ‘Sa Pilipinas, Ikaw ang Ma’am at Sir program & have talked to Department of Education Secretary Liling Briones and requested her to prioritize returning OFWs who have teaching as their profession,” he added.
Bello said employment opportunities for OFWs are available in the construction sector particularly the mega projects of the government under the “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program.
“BBB program will result in about 400,000 working opportunities, Department t of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation (DOTr) have committed to hiring construction workers. Leaders of the construction industry have committed to us that they will maximize the availability of work. Manualizing the work instead of mechanizing them,” he added.
Under the BBB program, the government is set to construct roads, bridges, airports, railways among others, covering 2017 to 2022, with a total budget of PHP8 trillion.
He reported that jobs are also available in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.
“The BPO industry also informed us of a current opening for some 6,000 call center agents,” Bello added.
The Pre-SONA is a three-part series campaign which shall set the narrative of the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte and inform the public on the efforts of the administration with an emphasis on the works of the various Cabinet Clusters in addressing the crisis caused by the Covid-19. (PNA)