Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) repatriated from Afghanistan are entitled to various benefits and assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) under its reintegration program, Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said on Wednesday.
Angara made the assurance as that the OWWA Law or Republic Act 10801 mandates the agency to ensure that repatriated Filipinos, especially from conflict-ridden countries, would have something to fall back on once they return to the Philippines.
Under the OWWA law that he authored and sponsored, Angara said the agency is primarily tasked with the reintegration of the affected OFWs into Philippine society.
“We pursued the passage of this law to respond to the problems faced by our OFWs each time unfortunate events occur in the country where they are working, like what happened to Afghanistan,” Angara pointed out.
“Our OWWA is ready to help affected OFWs to return to the Philippines and provide them livelihood here in our country,” the senator stated.
Aside from conducting training and seminars for OFWs, OWWA also provides job referrals and livelihood assistance, depending on their qualifications.
The reintegration program also provides low-interest loans for the repatriated OFWs through the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to support enterprise development.
In case of death or disability involving the OFW member, the law also provides for the grant of benefits that go as high as P200,000.
Angara also said OWWA is tasked to develop and implement health care programs for the benefit of member-OFWs and their families, taking into consideration the health care needs of women.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has raised Alert Level 4 for Afghanistan after Taliban forces managed to occupy the capital of Kabul and directed the mandatory evacuation of all Filipinos there.
Of the 130 Filipinos in Afghanistan, 32 have already been evacuated according to the DFA. Another 19 are set to leave immediately.