By Leslie Ann Aquino
Nearly 35,000 applications for the Department of Labor and Employment’s Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) have been approved, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said.
“As of now…around 35,000 applications have already been approved. Fifty percent of that land based, 50 percent seabased,” OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said during Friday’s Laging Handa forum. “Our (target) beneficiary here in the Philippines is 50,000 as most of the allocation is for overseas posts.”
Cacdac explained that 70 percent of the DOLE AKAP is allocated for overseas posts while the remaining 30 to 35 percent is allocated here in the Philippines.
“As I’ve said we are already finished with 35,000 approved applications and we are approaching the target of 50,000,” he said.
The DOLE earlier said overseas workers, both landbased and seabased, 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.
On April 29, the Labor department said it has also provided the P10,000 cash assistance to more than 70,000 OFWs.
It added that more than 297,000 OFWs are seeking to avail of the cash assistance.
OWWA officially started accepting ‘DOLE-AKAP for OFWs’ on-line applications on April 13, 2020.
The on-line application was created to cater to OFWs who are affected by the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine that started on March 17, 2020.