Some 20 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) returning to the country for good can now start anew, thanks to a livelihood assistance worth Php 200,000 provided by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through its Assist Well Program.
Assist Well is, of course, an abbreviation that stands for Welfare, Employment, Legal and Livelihood. Through this program, reintegration assistance or services are being extended to repatriated OFWs.
The assistance was given to the recipients at an event held at the DOLE regional and field offices in Central Luzon.
Ana Dione, DOLE Regional Director, said that most of the OFW recipients were undocumented workers who worked at Middle East. Dione, reporting to Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, DOLE Secretary, said that they immediately took action after receiving reports about the repatriation.
“I have immediately instructed (National Reintegration Center for OFW’s) Regional Coordinator Freya Palad to do the necessary coordination with our DOLE Field Offices and Public Employment Service Offices (Pesos) in the profiling of these affected workers and identify what type of livelihood intervention we could provide to them,” shared Dione.
The livelihood assistance was given in the form of starter kits. A SunStar article tells us that it was sourced from NRCOs Livelihood Development Assistance Program (LDAP) and Balik Pinay! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program (BPBH). Each kit was worth about Php 10,000.
“This is an intervention intended to bring about improved socio-economic well-being for returning undocumented OFWs. It is a strategy which aims to reduce their socio-economic vulnerability by start-up individual micro-business, expanding their business, or collective enterprise undertakings,” said Dione.
She further added, “We have made it easier for our OFWs and their families to avail and get access of our interventional programs through our Dole Assist-WELL Centers at the DOLE regional and field offices, as well as out Migrant’s Desks at our local government units, through their respective PESOs.”
One of the returning OFWs Ralph Toledo from Qatar who lives with his family in Zambales, said:
“Kami po ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa DOLE at NRCO sa ipinagkaloob nilang tulong pangkabuhayan sa aming mga OFWs. Sa totoo lang po, napakahirap na makipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa at kami po ay nangungulila dahil malayo po kami sa aming mga pamilya. Dahil sa tulong ninyo, makapagsisismula na po uli kami kasama na ang aming mga pamilya. Umasa po kayo na ito po ay aming pagyayamanin.”
(“We are very grateful for the livelihood assistance given by DOLE and NRCO to us OFWs. To be honest, working abroad can be very difficult because we miss our families. Because of your help, we can start anew without leaving our loved ones. Rest assured we’ll do our best to make it grow.”)