OFW aid continues as DOLE monitors COVID cases

The government is keeping tab of COVID-19 cases across the major Filipino overseas labor destinations even as it stepped up release of assistance to OFWs affected by the pandemic, the labor department said on Sunday.

In separate reports to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, close to 280,000 OFWs had received cash aid under the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) through the 40 Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

As of October 2, DOLE had disbursed some P2.853 billion in Akap funds to both on-site and repatriated OFW beneficiaries.

Akap has approved 312,974 of the 637,873 applications for assistance received by POLOs and OWWA field offices.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the POLO in Malaysia reported continuing fund transfer to bank accounts of AKAP-approved applicants. Moreover, no OFW was afflicted with COVID as of yesterday in Malaysia and other southeast Asian countries, particularly Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.

The one-time financial grant to eligible OFWs whose employment was negatively impacted by COVID-19 was also ongoing in Israel where it has released its third tranche of DOLE-AKAP beneficiaries.

No COVID-19 infection among OFWs was also reported in Taiwan, but two new positive cases were monitored in Singapore according to the POLO office in the city-state.

Three new cases were also noted in the Filipino community in Israel on September 30 according to Labor Attache Rudy Gabasan.

Of the 68 OFWs afflicted with COVID, 56 have recovered and one death was registered.

In Tokyo, no Covid-19 case was reported among OFWs as of September 30. In Europe, 101 Filipinos were monitored as of October 2; two were negative, 8 positive, and 6 were reported dead, and 85 have recovered.

Of the 14 monitored cases in France, 6 were reported dead and 8 have recovered, while 5 cases are being monitored in Portugal.

No Pinoys were reported afflicted with Covid-19 in Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Liechtenstein.

In the Middle East, Qatar posted 17 Filipino fatalities as of October 2. The number of POLO-verified positive cases involving Filipinos has increased to 3,132 OFWs, or an addition of 9 in the last 24 hours, the Philippine Labor Office in Qatar reported yesterday.

In Los Angeles, no reported death among OFWs was noted as of September 30. According to POLO-LA, the health officials in the city said the number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected coronavirus inpatients fell to 483 on Saturday, among the fewest since early April 5.

POLO-LA also conducts 24/7 psycho-social counseling and feedback generation to Filipinos through social media platforms.

No OFW COVID case was also reported in Canada, according to the POLO in the North American region.