Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced this afternoon’s V Café@DOLE forum that the one-time cash aid would be given to repatriated OFWs as soon as they arrived at the airports.
“Bakit pa natin hihintaying mag-apply sa atin ang OFW na beneficiaries ng AKAP? We have the record; we know they are OFWs
“Pagni-repatriate natin sila, ibig sabihin na-displaced sila dahil sa COVID-19. Kaya dapat pagdating nila rito handa na tulong natin sa kanila. Pagdating sa airport, ibibigay na yung tulong. They deserve the cash assistance,” the Labor secretary said.
Initially, DOLE got P1.5 billion in April and another P1 billion directly from President Duterte for a total of P2.5 billion. Of this amount, more than 233,000 landbased and seabased workers received the cash assistance for a total of P2.388 billion as of August 8.
Congress has allocated, under Bayanihan 2, another P5 billion for the DOLE AKAP program.
DOLE is speeding up the disbursement of cash aid after the secretary promised to the President last Monday to complete the AKAP as well as TUPAD and CAMP programs by the end of November. TUPAD is for workers in the informal sector and CAMP is for workers of companies affected by Covid-19.
Secretary Bello said that the guidelines is now available for the new implementation of the AKAP program, but failed to give details of the implementation.
Before he said a displaced OFW would file an application along with some requirements; the application would be evaluated. If approved, the money would be remitted to the OFW.
“Nakakabagal (sa proseso ang) paghingi ng requirements; we should immediately give them the benefit what is due them,” the secretary emphasized.He said that as of yesterday the Labor department had disbursed a total of P3.5 billion to almost 350,000 land-based and sea-based workers .