Include OFWs in ‘Bayanihan To Heal As One’ act – labor group

INCLUDE the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) urged the national government following the enactment of a measure that gives President Rodrigo Duterte special power in addressing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

TUCP Party-list Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza said the OFWs, especially those distressed and displaced, are also adversely affected by the coronavirus disease.

“We must include OFWs in the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act coverage. Many were displaced due to travel bans and closed borders. Many lost jobs and many OFW breadwinners cannot remit money home,” Mendoza said in a statement. 

The law did not include the programs and augmentation of budget for the OFWs who lost their jobs because of the COVID-19. 

Based on the records of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), there are 3,169 OFWs displaced by the pandemic. 

Mendoza said the government should also include OFWs in its priority since their remittances have contributed much in the economy. 

In his proposal, Mendoza said government should set aside funds for OFW subsidy and increase its allocation of P10,000 to P15,000 per month during the period of the enhanced community quarantine. 

He also asked the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to boost its income and livelihood programs for the returning OFWs. 

According to data of the Department of Foreign Affairs, 169 Filipinos abroad have already been infected with COVID-19 most of whom are in the Asia Pacific Region.