Fall back aid for Pinoys from Afghanistan urged

August 18, 2021 Marlon Purification 483 views

SENATOR Sonny Angara on Wednesday said Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) repatriated from Afghanistan are entitled to various benefits and assistance to help them while they are sorting out their lives

As the sponsor and author of Republic Act 10801 or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Act of 2016, Angara said the repatriated Filipinos from the conflict-ridden Afghanistan will have something to fall back on while waiting for their next deployment or if they decide to stay in the country.

“Isinulong natin ang batas na ito upang matugunan ang mga problemang pinagdadaanan ng ating mga OFWs tuwing may hindi inaasahang pangyayari sa mga bansang kanilang kinalalagyan tulad ng nangyayari ngayon sa Afghanistan,” Angara said.

“Handa ang ating OWWA upang tulungan ang mga apektadong Pilipino na makauwi sa Pilipinas at mabigyan sila ng kabuhayan dito sa bansa,” Angara added.

Under the law, OWWA will be tasked with the reintegration of the affected OFWs into Philippine society.

Apart from conducting training and seminars for OFWs, OWWA also provides job referrals and livelihood assistance, depending on their qualifications.

The reintegration program also involves the provision of low-interest loans for the repatriated OFWs through the Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines to support enterprise development.

Dependents and beneficiaries of the OFW member are also entitled to educational assistance through the Education for Development Scholarship Program and the Skills-for-Employment Scholarship Program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

On the part of the seafarers, an upgrading program is available to ensure they have the competitive advantage in meeting competency standards as required by the International Maritime Organization, International Labor Organization conventions, treaties and agreements.

In case of death or disability involving the OFW member, RA 10801 provides for the grant of benefits that go as high as P200,000.

OWWA is also tasked to develop and implement health care programs for the benefit of member-OFWs and their families, taking into consideration the health care needs of women as provided for in RA 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, and other relevant laws.

In the repatriation of OFWs, OWWA also plays a role by providing services such as airport assistance, temporary sheltering – preferably at an OWWA Halfway House, and provisions for travel.

After Taliban forces managed to occupy the Afghanistan capital of Kabul, the Department of Foreign Affairs raised Alert Level 4 over the country and directed the mandatory evacuation of all Filipinos there.

Of the 130 Filipinos in Afghanistan, 32 have already been evacuated according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Another 19 are set to leave immediately.