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More funds eyed to repatriate OFWs

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration said yesterday it needs more funds for the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the remaining funds for the measure, amounting to P1.4 billion, will only last until next month.

“Our estimate is the depletion of the fund is sometime in the middle of May. From the second to the fourth week of May, possibly on red alert but as of now April 21st, we’re still okay. We still have P1.4 billion,” he said in a virtual forum.

The government has allocated some P11 billion for the repatriation, accommodation including food, swab testing, and transportation of returning OFWs displaced by the pandemic, to their home regions.

Cacdac said that once their funds run out, they cannot pay for the transport and hotel accommodations of the OFWs.

“I’m still optimistic that we will not reach that point. I still believe the national government will find a way,” he added.

At present, he reported that there are 6,500 OFWs housed in around 125 hotels.

He said there is no timeline for the release of a new policy for funding for accommodation for OFWs.

“There is no timeline. Except to hope for the best and the national government will always find the way to provide a solution to our concerns, especially if the outcome is for the better protection of our dear OFWs,” Cacdac added.

Some 592,000 OFWs have been assisted by the government and are now in their home provinces since their repatriation started in May 2020.

POEA WARNING

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, meanwhile, has warned the public against fake e-mail messages appearing to be from the agency.

On a Facebook post yesterday, the agency cautioned the people not to open such e-mails using the name of its chief, Bernard Olalia, as these may contain viruses.

“Spam emails have been sent using olalia@poea.gov.ph. Those e-mails were not from the office of the POEA Administrator so please disregard and do not open the attached files,” the post said. “They may contain a disguised program (malware, adware, spyware, virus, etc.) that could damage your computer system or steal your data.”

The POEA also apologized to those that have received such an email.

“We apologize for any confusion or harm that the malicious e-mails may have caused,” it said.*PNA

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