4,333 have been repatriated; P42.78 million released in financial relief assistance

Date Posted: November 14th, 2014 06:36 AM


Update on OFWs from Libya 4,333 have been repatriated; P42.78 million released in financial relief assistance Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said yesterday that the government has repatriated a total of 4,333 OFWs from Libya as of 31 October 2014, majority of whom availed of the opportunity to return to the Philippines under the government’s mandatory repatriation program. Baldoz, citing an update report from Director Chona Mantilla of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs, or NRCO, said about 65 percent, or 2,977 of the total number of repatriates are active OWWA members, while 28 percent, or 1,197, are non-OWWA members. “Only four percent, or 159, of the 4,333 OFWs repatriates have no records,” said Baldoz, adding: “The DOLE’s Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), in convergence with other DOLE agencies, namely, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Bureau of Local Employment (BLE), DOLE regional offices, and the NRCO, has provided the repatriates appropriate services through the Assist W.E.L.L. Program. The assistance included the financial grant of P10,000 under the Financial Relief Assistance Program that had benefited 4,278, or 99 percent, of the total repatriates.” Director Mantilla, in her report to Secretary Baldoz, said most of the repatriated OFWs are from Region 4-A (1,057); Region 3 (821); and the National Capital Region (720). "The 4,333 OFWs assisted through Assist WELL as of 31 October 2014 availed of various types of assistance, the most numerous of which is the request for assistance for overseas employment (2,529); transportation assistance to their home provinces (2,435); livelihood assistance (1,973); training and/or scholarship (1,973); and request for assistance for local employment (1,429). “For entrepreneurial development training, the OWWA and the NRCO trained 1,907 OFW-repatriates. We also trained 1,903 in livelihood skills under the Balik-Pinoy Balik Pinas Program,” Director Mantilla reported. The NRCO official also reported that 868 requests for legal assistance were responded to, while there were 608 requests for temporary shelter in Manila. She also counted 57 free calls availed by the repatriates to their loved ones. She emphasized that there was not a single request for medical assistance, but OWWA social workers provided stress debriefings for 32 OFW-repatriates. Focused and comprehensive reintegration services await repatriate OFWs under DOLE’s Assist WELL Program The DOLE has set up Assist WELL Program to best address the Welfare, Employment, Legal, and Livelihood needs of repatriated OFWs. A package of comprehensive reintegration assistance and services, Assist WELL is a component of the National Reintegration Program for OFWs that ensures the successful reintegration of OFWs repatriated from crisis or emergency situations, pursuant to relevant alert level systems of the national government. Secretary Baldoz established the program under DOLE Department Order No. 139, Series of 2014. Relative to welfare, the OWWA, as head of Assist WELL Program’s welfare assistance committee, provides airport assistance; temporary shelter and accommodation; transport assistance to residence; emergency medical assistance; and stress debriefing. On employment assistance, the employment assistance committee provides 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. This committee is headed by no less than DOLE Undersecretary Reydeluz Conferido. Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad heads the livelihood assistance committee which provides entrepreneurial development training; livelihood skills training; hands-on business mentoring and support; and business loan assistance. There are three programs that repatriated workers can avail under livelihood. These are the P2-B Reintegration Loan Fund for OWWA members; Balik-Pinay, Balik-Hanapbuhay for distressed OFWs; and the P10-K Livelihood Assistance for non-documented workers. Lastly, the legal assistance committee, headed by POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, provides legal advice; conciliation proceedings 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. “All concerned DOLE implementing agencies have been directed to allocate and commit funds for the implementation of the Assist WELL Program,” Baldoz said. END

Created Nov 17th 2014, 09:34


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