Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III disclosed that the government has given his department a fresh P6 billion for the DOLE-Abot Kamay sa Pagtulong (AKAP) programs for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Labor chief was the guest at the weekly Usapang CQ program on Facebook Live hosted by veteran journalist Malou Talosig.He explained that when he approached President Duterte for additional funds for DOLE-AKAP, the secretary was told by the Chief Executive to get P1 billion share from the P5 billion earlier approved by the Budget department for repatriation of OFWs.
On top of that, there is another P5 billion allocated for DOLE-AKAP program under the proposed BayanihanTo Recover as One Act or the Bayanihan 2 bill, which is expected to be signed by President Duterte any time soon.
The Bayanihan 2 bill, a sequel to Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or simply the Bayanihan Act, provides for an additional P160 billion fund to the government to jumpstart the recovery of the nation’s economy.
“Mayroon pang P5 billion sa ilalim ng Bayanihan 2 para sa DOLE-AKAP program,” SEcretatry Bello said during the live interview last Saturday, August 29,2020.
The initial P2.5 billion fund for the program is almost completely depleted with assistance already provided to more than 233,000 landbased and seabased workers, with disbursed amount of P2.388 billion as of August 8.
Sec. Bello however said that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration or OWWA had received over 500,000 applications for the cash assistance.