P1B alloted to bankroll one-time college subsidy for 33,000 children of displaced, deceased OFWs

At least P1 billion will be set aside to bankroll a one-time college subsidy for the children of displaced or deceased overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) during the coronavirus pandemic, President Duterte announced on Monday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on August 31, 2020. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The President said around 33,000 student-beneficiaries will each receive P30,000 assistance so they can enroll in colleges and universities this school year.

"Ngayon, dito sa effect ng COVID sa pag-aaral ng ating mga anak, kailangan natin na tulungan lalo na (Because of the effect of COVID on the education of our children, we must help them ) a Tertiary Education Subsidy for dependents of displaced non-returning repatriated or deceased OFWs due to COVID-19," Duterte said during his televised address Monday night.

"Ang tulong po sa edukasyon sa mga anak niyo (The education assistance to your children) is a one-time grant of P30,000. The project will be allotted with the amount of one billion, which will benefit about 33,000 students from 33 OFW families," he said.

Under the government program, Duterte said the education subsidy will be given to one college level beneficiary from a qualified OFW enrolled or who intends to enroll in state universities and colleges, local universities and colleges, and Commission on Higher Education (CHED)-recognized private higher education institutions this school year.

The college grant, Duterte said, is a project initiated by CHED under the United Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFast) in collaboration with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). He said the public can get further details about the financial aid program from CHED, DOLE, and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

The labor department has reported that around 173,088 repatriated overseas Filipino workers have returned to their home provinces as of August 29. The returning OFWs were subjected to coronavirus testing before being transported back home.

The coronavirus pandemic has left thousands of Filipinos here and abroad jobless after many businesses closed or scaled down their operations. The government has promised to provide financial and livelihood assistance to the displaced workers.