Covid-19 pandemic affected a lot of industries – tourism, food sector, hotel industry, and even retail. Apparently, there’s another sector that is greatly affected by this situation: OFWs.
OFWs around the world experienced job loss, thereby forcing them to go back home through repatriation. There are even many OFWs left in their respective host countries but were unable to work or worse, were terminated from employment. Many OFWs were also unable to go to their host country due to government’s travel restriction policies.
The good news is there are still assistance programs sponsored by several government agencies to help OFWs in this trying times.
Financial Assistance Through DOLE-AKAP Program
This is a one-time financial assistance amounting to P10,000 for affected OFWs. It covers documented workers, Balik-Manggagawa, and undocumented workers but are currently processing their status. You can apply through DOLE or respective POLO in case you are still overseas.
Keep in mind that despite fulfilling all the requirements, there is no assurance that your application will be approved.
You can learn more about this program here.
Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program
Not all OFWs are Metro Manila residents. There are still many overseas workers who live in the provinces. Or some prefer to settle in the city to seek greener pastures.
This program aims to decongest the urban areas and encourage people to go back to their respective provinces. At the same time, this will help boost countryside development. Support and incentives such as transportation, education, and livelihood among others will likewise be given.
You can apply through the Balik Probinsya center in your barangay or apply online by clicking this link.
Livelihood Program Through OWWA
One of the many benefits provided by OWWA or Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is Reintegration program or the mainstreaming of returning OFWs into the Philippine society. This includes financial literacy, job referrals, and business counseling among others.
Due to the pandemic, the agency introduced Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program. This is a livelihood support and assistance program wherein qualified OFWs may receive P20,000, which can be used for start-up or additional capital for the livelihood project.
- Application Form
- Letter of Undertaking that the cash assistance will be used for self-employment or for starting or expansion of own business
- Certificate of Entrepreneurial Development Training or EDT
- Business plan or proposal approved by Regional Welfare Office Director, which indicates that the proposed business is feasible and sustainable
- Proof of repatriation or return to the country such as passport, airline ticket, and other travel documents
If you’re serious about putting up your own business, then you can apply for the Enterprise Development and Loan Program. You can borrow as much as P2 million with 7.5 percent per annum interest rate. However, requirements and procedure are stricter since it has longer terms.
Free Training From TESDA’s ABOT OFW Program
Now that you’re back in the country, you might want to consider looking into trainings offered by TESDA. Various courses were offered including welding, electric installation and maintenance, processed food and beverage, wholesale and retail trading, Information and Communication technology, decorative crafts, and footwear and leather goods among others.
Apart from the free training programs, TESDA also offers scholarship programs for more detailed training. Last May 2020 and with the rising demand on food products, TESDA offers a scholarship program on integrated organic farming,
You can register for any of the TESDA programs through this link.
These assistance programs may not bring the lost earnings but these will be helpful in getting you back on your feet. Look into these closely and give it a try. Who knows, this could lead to something bigger that won’t require you to go work overseas.