By Chito Chavez
Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Sunday said furloughed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and those with a “no work no pay’’ status should be provided the $200 financial aid under the government’s program.
This program, called “DOLE-AKAP for OFWs,” is covered by Department Order (DO) No. 12 issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE.)
“This is selective compassion. Regardless if you’re terminated or furloughed or placed in floating status because of the pandemic, everyone still experiences the same crisis,” KMU chairperson Elmer Labog said.
Labog said that in 2019, OFWs remitted $33 billion that shored up the country’s cash position and cushioned the impact of inflation.
“Our OFWs have sacrificed for years, working away from home. Now that the OFWs are in need of our help, government can only give them $30 million in financial aid that does not even cover everyone affected by the crisis,” he added.
KMU noted that out of the 2.3 million OFWs, only 150,000 or 6.5 percent are covered by the government’s DOLE-AKAP program.
“What the government needs to do is to direct government funds in expanding the coverage of the program and Philippine embassies should act quickly in consolidating all OFWs, whether documented or not, to be covered in this aid.
“Otherwise, DOLE should mandate all employers both local and foreign to pay workers the equivalent amount of their wages,” Labog said.
KMU also asserted that “paid quarantine leave” is a significant and substantial solution requiring all companies to pay their workers the equivalent amount of their wages regardless of the no-work, no-pay scheme. (Chito A. Chavez)