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14,097 OFWs in Ilocos Region receive cash aid from AKAP

Overseas Filipino Workers  (OFWs) who were assisted through the DOLE Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) now stand at 14,097, the DOLE-Regional Office I announced. 

Regional Director Evelyn R. Ramos said the amount of P140,970,000 was already used up for the USD200 or P10,000 one-time financial assistance for land-based and sea-based workers who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“The DOLE-RO I and OWWA have been working closely to facilitate the release of the cash aid to the beneficiaries,” she said. 

The OWWA evaluates all AKAP applications and submits those approved to the DOLE for the processing and release of assistance through partner remittance centers, the Regional Director said.

 

Among those who benefitted from the AKAP is Marjorie Liao, 38-year-old resident of Candon City, Ilocos Sur.  Marjorie was an OFW in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  He had a promising job as a Junior Sous Chef at a hotel.  

When national economies started reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotel temporarily shut down its operations. Marjorie, who was set to return to his work on March 14, 2020, was advised by his employer to extend his vacation.  He has not been able to leave the country again due to lockdowns.   

“It is really saddening because we have families to support,” Marjorie said. 

The former OFW is married and has two children – seventh and third graders. 

Then he learned about the AKAP. 

“The PESO of Candon assisted me in my online application for the financial assistance,” he said. 

After barely a month since he applied, Marjorie received the full amount of P10,000, and used it to start a small food business. His first venture was a “mamihan” stall, but he switched to food delivery service as it is more profitable during the present situation. 

To meet their family’s basic needs, Marjorie juggles the roles of a business owner, construction worker, farmer, haircutter – and a home maker. 

 “I want to thank the DOLE, OWWA and PESO for the efficient services and assistance they provide to affected OFWs,” he said. 

To be eligible for the AKAP, OFWs must be: (1) Those who have experienced job displacement due to the receiving country’s imposition of lockdown or community quarantine or having been infected by the disease; (2) Must be still at overseas jobsites, or in the Philippines as Balik-Manggagawa, or already repatriated to the Philippines; and (3) Must not receive any financial support/assistance from the receiving countries/employers. END/Arly Sta. Ana-Valdez with report from Sherwin Keith T. Abalos, DOLE-ISFO

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2021-04-12
RD Evelyn R. Ramos
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