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Pinoy Abroad

OWWA asks Congress for P250M in additional funds for returning OFWs


The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has asked Congress for an additional P250 million budget as an estimated 40,000 overseas Filipino workers are expected to return to the country through June.

OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the agency has already spent P420 million on accommodation, transportation, food and other kinds of assistance for the displaced OFWs, who have returned to the Philippines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In May, we pretty much spent our entire year’s repatriation budget. So in a few weeks, months time we will go over, overboard, so we will be already cutting into the investment funds of OWWA,” Cacdac said in Raffy Tima’s 24 Oras report on Thursday.

Cacdac said that while OWWA can still provide the needs of the stranded OFWs in Metro Manila, the agency needs additional funds for the 40,000 more workers expected to return in the coming weeks.

“We depend on collections, membership collections and investment income which we have none these days. Usually, nakakakalap kami ng at least mga P2.5 billion in income every year and it will be difficult to restore that unless we get congressional help,” Cacdac said.

He said the additional funding from Congress would be spent to pay for accommodations, transportation and other assistance to the returning OFWs.

Meanwhile, Cacdac said the agency is already rushing to ferry OFWs who tested negative for COVID-19 back to their hometowns.

However, he added delays are to be expected due to the high volume of OFWs needed to be accommodated.

“The volume is overwhelming. Sa OWWA, we do this repatriation and family reunification work every day. Kayang-kaya po namin ‘yan, but not to the extent na 25 [thousand], 28,000 sila sabay-sabay, so we are really trying out best,” Cacdac said. — Ma. Angelica Garcia/BM, GMA News