Cagayan de Oro 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez is seeking to give a token amount of P100,000 each to the families of 301 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have died abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That is not much, but it would be a sincere gesture to our modern-day heroes in general that we appreciate their immense contribution to our country’s growth,” Rodriguez said in a statement Wednesday.
“Hundreds of them have died since the lockdown in March due to COVID-19 or while working to help their families and the nation,” he said of the OFWs.
For this purpose, the Mindanao lawmaker said he would recommend to the House of Representatives that the needed funds be included in the proposed Bayanihan 2 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Law.
He said the assistance should have been included in Republic Act No.11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Law, which provided social amelioration funds for distressed and displaced workers here and abroad.
Rodriguez pointed out that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), together with the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA), have given out $200 each to tens of thousands of OFWs rendered jobless by the pandemic.
“The 301 who have died would have been entitled to the $200 or P10,000 aid. If we give their families P100,000 each, we are in effect just adding P90,000 to the assistance their kin would have received,” he explained.
The DOLE has started repatriating the remains of the dead OFWs, who include more than 100 who have died due to COVID-19.
Rodriguez said his proposed P100,000 aid would be in addition to whatever benefits the DOLE and OWWA would give to the bereaved families.
“We can approve Bayanihan 2 shortly after we convene for our second regular session on July 27. We should give the assistance as soon as possible,” he said.