Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
The two Philippine Overseas Labour Offices (POLOs) in the UAE have resumed the acceptance of new applicants for the one-time COVID19 pandemic-related cash aid to all displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) around the world.
Meanwhile since second week of April, a total of 74,050 affected OFWs across the UAE-terminated from work and on a “No Work-No Pay” status-have so far applied for the $200.00 (Dhs730.00) financial assistance through the AKAP Programme of Manila’s Department of Labour and Employment (DoLE).
The figure was known from separate interviews with Labour Attache in Abu Dhabi and the Western Region Alejandro Padaen and Labour Attache in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Felicitas Bay on Monday.
Of the 74,050, from Dubai and the Northern Emirates are 56,460. From Abu Dhabi and the Western Region are 17,650.
AKAP stands for “Abot Kamay Ang Pagtulong” loosely translated as “Help Within Reach” for the affected sea-based and land-based OFWs in nine countries in the Middle East including the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Other beneficiaries are in the Asia-Pacific Rim particularly in Australia, Brunei Darussalam, HongKong, Japan, South Korea, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia and New Zealand. In Europe and the Americas are from Canada, Cyprus, Italy, Germany, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, UK and the US.
Applicants to the cash aid, also known as “ayuda” in the Filipino language, have to download the AKAP form from and submit necessary documents to the respective websites of the 34 POLOs, 13 of which are in the Middle East.
The website of POLO-Abu Dhabi is poloabudhabi.weebly.com. The website of POLO-Dubai is polodubaiportal.org.
The two POLOS in the UAE had so far disbursed Dhs6,833,530.00 (Php94,460,545.86) for 9,361-4,000 OFWs in Abu Dhabi and the Western Region and 5,361 OFWs in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, as of May 24 (Sunday).
These have so far evaluated for approval/ processed 40,550 applications broken down as 17,550 in Abu Dhabi and the Western Region, and 23,000 in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
On May 14 (Thursday), DoLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced, through a Facebook Live interview with Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar, about his office receiving notification regarding the release of Php1 billion (Dhs72,393,776.40) out of the additional Php2.5 billion (Dhs180,989,491.75) it had requested from Manila’s Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
“I just received a notice from (DBM) that they are increasing our fund. They know that we might be short and good thing, they pitied us. They added another Php1 billion,” Bello stated in Filipino.
The original AKAP fund was Php1.5 billion (Dhs108,590,664.60).
“We were asking for another Php2.5 billion but they sent us Php1 billion. We will live with that. As long as there are funds, we will give that to the OFWs who need it,” Bello also said.
Bello added that DoLE, as of May 14, had released $200.00 each for 100,000 out of 400,000 ayuda OFW applicants around the world. This is equivalent to $20,000,000.00 (Php1,015,100,000.00/Dhs73,406,793.37).
It was recently reported that Filipinos who have booked for flights to their home country on their own need not seek assistance from the Philippine missions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, should they re-book.
The re-bookings are due to flight cancellations resulting from a Manila directive that inbound commercial operations to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport must have a cap of 400 passengers a day.
The Philippine Embassy-Abu Dhabi (AUHPE) and the Philippine Consulate General-Dubai (PCGDXB) had posted a joint advisory regarding this over their respective websites and Facebook pages on a Thursday afternoon.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola, updated the House of Representatives-Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, on the continuing repatriation of Filipinos from across the globe because of the Coronavirus 2019 pandemic.
According to Arriola, 28,589 Filipinos had returned to the country as of May 21 (Thursday). Of these, 19,200 are seafarers and 9,389 are land-based.
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Al Qusais, Dubai (POLODXB) resumed on Thursday the acceptance of applications for the one-time Php10,000.00 ($200.00/Dhs730.00) financial help extended to terminated/no work-no pay status overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as a consequence of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic.
Filipinos in the UAE alongside all the other overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) around the world severely impacted by the pandemic in such a way that they are on a “No Work-No Pay” status may now apply for the one-time Php10,000.00 ($200.00/Dhs734.64) financial assistance extended by Manila’s Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE).
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Dubai (POLODXB) has released a total of $120,800.00 (Php6,123,352.00/Dhs440,920.00) to 604 retrenched/no work-no pay status overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, part of Manila’s Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) one-time Php10,000.00 ($200.00/Dhs730.00) cash aid amidst the pandemic.
Officials of two organizations representing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) believe the Duterte administration could have other fund sources for the beleaguered Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to fulfill the noble goal of the 2019-enacted Universal Healthcare Law.
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