The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration has announced it has stopped giving cash assistance to overseas Filipino workers bound for Hong Kong and Macau in view of the recent lifting of the travel ban in those areas.
“All regional welfare offices were instructed to cease the processing of applications of financial assistance for OFWs bound for Hong Kong and Macau,” said OWWA officer-in-charge director Ronald Mina.
But he said the P10,000 cash assistance extended to China-bound OFWs would continue.
As of Feb. 20, OWWA has dispensed more than P81 million to 8,106 OFWs affected by the temporary travel ban to China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan due to the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 outbreak.
The P10,000 cash assistance, drawn from the OWWA Trust Fund of member-OFWs, was given to “help stranded OFWs ease their burden and assist them back to their places of origin” during the travel ban.
The financial assistance was distributed through OWWA regional welfare offices.
Of the 17 OWWA regional offices, OWWA-National Capital Region got the largest amount distributed with P36.87 million given to 3,687 OFWs.
This was followed by OWWA-Region 1 (P7.16 million for 716 OFWs), Region 6 (P6.82 million given to 682 OFWs), Region 3 (P6.67 million for 667 OFWs), Region 2 (P4.74 million for 474 OFWs), CAR (P3.74 million for 374 OFWs), Region 4A-A (P3.71 million for 371 OFWs), Region 7 (P3.04 million for 304 OFWs), Region XI (P2.55 million for 255 OFWs), Region 5 (P1.27 million for 127 OFWs), Region 12 (P1.11 million for 111 OFWs), Region 10 (P1.05 million for 105 OFWs), Region 8 (P760,000 for 76 OFWs), CARAGA (P650, 000 for 65 OFWs), Region 4B (P440,000 for 44 OFWs), and Region 9 (P430,000 for 43 OFWs). OWWA-ARMM has the least number of claimants, releasing P50,000 to five OFWs.
Aside from cash, OWWA regional offices provided transportation assistance. OWWA-NCR, the transit point of OFWs coming from other regions, disbursed transport aid to 79 stranded OFWs from Feb. 7 to Feb. 19, amounting to P67,500.00.
OWWA NCR’s distribution of cash assistance were held in three venues—OWWA Multi-purpose Hall Mall of Asia, and Philippine Trade Training Center, to accommodate the influx of OFW-claimants.