Thirty-five overseas Filipino workers from Negros Occidental displaced by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic received financial assistance of P20,000 each under the various reintegration programs of the Department of Labor and Employment.
The distribution of checks was held in a program that marked the 2021 Migrant Workers’ Day hosted by the provincial government at the Capitol Social Hall in Bacolod City yesterday.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson paid tribute to the OFWs, ranging from health workers to service providers, toiling all over the world.
“The Filipino migrant workers have become worldwide front-liners in this pandemic,” Lacson said in his message before OFWs from cities and municipalities in Negros Occidental, and personnel of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, led by Western Visayas officer-in-charge Rizza Joy Moldes.
Of the 35 recipients, 29 benefited from the “Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay” program, and six under the “Sa Pinas Ikaw ang Ma’am at Sir” project.
The BPBH provides a package of livelihood support/assistance intended to give immediate relief to distressed or displaced member-OFWs for a maximum of P20,000 as a start-up or additional capital for the livelihood project.
The SPIMS is open to domestic workers and other OFWs who have worked in Qatar, Riyadh, Al Khobar, Abu Dhabi, Israel, Thailand, and aims to retrain household service workers on the skills set needed for the Teacher 1 position in the Department of Education, get hired in their hometown, and get out of plain domestic work.
Aside from the cash assistance, the beneficiaries also received gift packs from the OWWA and the Voice of the Free Foundation.
One of the recipients is a male OFW from Talisay City, who had been working in Saudi Arabia for about 17 years but was not able to return to his work because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lacson said that in observing the Migrant Workers Day, the provincial government acknowledges the OFWs’ contribution to the economy and honors their sacrifices as well.
“We are aware of the gravity of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on our country’s migrant sector. May this reintegration and livelihood undertaking for self-employment give you a fresh start. Your provincial government is here to support you. May you have the tenacity and drive to make good of this program,” the governor told the beneficiaries.
The activity was also attended by Salvacion Barrios, president of the OFW Negros Occidental Federation Inc., executive assistant Marie June Castro, secretary of the Provincial Committee on Migration and Development, and the province’s OFW focal designate Ana Lim of the Provincial Planning and Development Office.*PNA