More than half a million overseas Filipino workers have so far been displaced by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported Thursday.
International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) Director Alice Visperas said as of December 17, some 550,000 OFWs lost their jobs abroad.
“Of this figure, 370,000 of the displaced were repatriated to their home provinces, 126,000 displaced are still waiting for their repatriation, and 82,000 displaced and opted to stay on-site,” she said in a press briefing.
The government started transporting OFWs en masse in May after Covid tests and quarantine.
The OFW returnees were provided with accommodation, food, transportation, and COVID testing upon their arrival in the country.
To help OFWs financially, DOLE has also been extending a one-time P10,000 or $200 cash aid under the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program to OFWs whose incomes were affected by the pandemic, both on-site and those stranded in the country.
Meanwhile, Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) Director Dominique Rubia-Tutay said 3.8 million workers in the country were also adversely affected by the pandemic.
“These are composed of those who were retrenched, permanently displaced, those undergoing flexible work arrangements and those still under temporary closure,” she said.