The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) have signed an agreement that would grant a one-time subsidy of P30,000 to college-level dependents of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
CHED Chairman J. Prospero de Vera III and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III led the signing of the memorandum of agreement to roll out the “Tabang OFW” program which is expected to benefit about 33,000 students.
According to De Vera, the CHED Unified Student Financial Assistance System on Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Board “unanimously approved” the P1-billion fund allocated for the program as part of its Tertiary Education Subsidy.
“The program is intended to assist at least one college-level dependent of OFWs who were adversely affected by the pandemic or those repatriated, displaced, or deceased due to COVID-19,” De Vera said during the signing ceremony.
De Vera said the OFW will have to select one dependent who will be included in the program. The qualified grantee will be entitled to the one-time financial assistance of P30,000 covering the academic year 2020-2021, the CHED chairman added.
Under the agreement, the DOLE shall issue orders, circular, or guidelines that will spell out the effective and efficient implementation of the program, including the appropriate utilization of funds, adherence to the usual government accounting and auditing rules, and submission of reports. The DOLE will also identify the names of OFWs who will choose a dependent either enrolled or intending to enroll in higher education institutions in the country for the academic year.
“We hope this will go a long way in helping our OFWs and their children in these most challenging times. By doing this, we also hope we can partly repay our modern-day heroes,” Bello said.
The UniFAST Secretariat will generate the master list of qualified grantees as a basis for the transfer of funds to DOLE.
“We hope that this assistance will be transitional assistance so that as the economy improves next year, our OFWs will have a chance to be employed again,” De Vera said. (With a report from Betheena Unite)