By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Kuwait has resumed accepting applications for the Department of Labor and Employment’s “Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong” (AKAP) program for overseas Filipino workers.
POLO Kuwait said it resumed accepting online applications for the US$200 cash assistance on April 23.
Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa said they will stop accepting applications once it reaches 10,000 qualified beneficiaries.
“The DOLE has an approved allocation of P1.58 sourced from the DOLE-COVID Adjustment Measures Program (DOLE-CAMP),” he said in an advisory.
“Due to the limited budget, only 150,000 OFWs worldwide could benefit from the program,” added Mustafa.
“POLO Kuwait is allocated 10,000 of the 150,000 beneficiaries,” he said.
So far, Mustafa said they already received 16,307 applications and these are now being evaluated.
“The 16,307 applications are being processed by a team of POLO evaluators to ensure that qualified applicants will receive the US$200 cash assistance,” he said.
In a separate advisory, POLO Bahrain also announced that it will re-open the online application for the DOLE-AKAP for OFWs displaced by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on April 24.
POLO Bahrain said all interested applicants may access the online link to the DOLE-AKAP for OFWs which will be posted in accounts: “Philippine Embassy in Bahrain” and “OWWA Manama”.
“Everyone is enjoined to carefully follow the instructions and attach/ upload the correct documents required which include passport, visa, proof of job or income loss such as but not limited to Notice of termination or certification from Employer that it Implemented a ‘No-Work, No-Pay’ or ‘Forced Leave without Pay’ policy as part of adjustment measures to cope with the adverse effect of the pandemic,” read the advisory.
“Those who earlier came to the Embassy to signify their intention to apply for the assistance and signed their names are also reminded to apply thru the online link in order to be included in the master list of applicants,” it further read.
“We wish to emphasize that the budget allocation for this program is limited which will require strict evaluation of submitted applications to give priority to those who are most in need of assistance,” the advisory read.
The DOLE earlier said overseas workers, both land-based and sea-based, who have been displaced by a lockdown in a foreign country will be given a one-time financial assistance amounting to P10,000 or USD200, or the equivalent amount in their host countries, under the AKAP program.
The program seeks to assist about 150,000 OFWs on-site or in host countries affected by lockdowns and those in the Philippines who are unable to return to their destinations.