Manila Bulletin

DOLE suspends applicatio­ns for OFW aid program


The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has suspended the acceptance of applicatio­ns for the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong program for overseas Filipino workers.

The announceme­nt was made after the Labor department exceeded the target beneficiar­ies of 150,000 OFWs.

"We will have to stop accepting applicatio­ns," Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in an interview.

"We have already put on hold the program because we already have (exceeded) our allocation, which is only for 150,000 OFWs," he added.

According to DOLE, it received more than 400,000 applicatio­ns for AKAP, a total of 142,550 of which have been approved.

The DOLE earlier said overseas workers, both land-based and seabased, who have been displaced by a lockdown in a foreign country will be given a one-time financial assistance amounting to ₱10,000 or USD200, or the equivalent amount in their host countries, under the AKAP program.

The program seeks to assist about 150,000 OFWs on-site or in host countries affected by lockdowns and those in the Philippine­s who are unable to return to their destinatio­ns.

In a virtual press briefing Tuesday, Bello revealed that they already requested for additional ₱2.5 billion funding for the program in order to accommodat­e more OFWs.

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