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DMW, DSWD giving cash aid to KSA OFWs awaiting back wages

The Department of Migrant Workers and the Department of Social Welfare and Development on Saturday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) providing P10,000 financial aid to each OFW awaiting the release of their back wages by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) construction firms.

DMW secretary Susan Ople, and DSWD secretary Rex Gatchalian signed the MOA on Saturday.

Ople said the financial assistance will be released within the next two weeks.

Under the agreement, the DMW -- together with its attached agency Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) -- and DSWD will provide P10,000 for each of the estimated 10,000 workers with pending claims from construction companies that declared bankruptcy from 2015 to 2019.

At least P100 million has been set aside for the financial aid, with each department providing P50 million, the DMW said.

For its part, the DSWD will cover the implementation of its assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) Program in partnership with the OWWA.

It will also provide technical assistance to the OWWA to ensure the smooth implementation of the financial aid program.

Then, the OWWA will create a digital portal that will allow the intended OFW beneficiaries to register and avail of the assistance package.

A designated focal person -- both from the OWWA and the DSWD -- will oversee the  process and monitor compliance in the disbursement of public funds.

Ople said the DMW will also coordinate with the DSWD in assisting OFW children left under the guardianship of their next of kin, or household members other than the actual parents in light of the recent tragedy befalling OFW Virginia dela Pena’s children.

“Early on, the President directed the DMW to extend its programs to OFW families, especially the children. He also mentioned helping the claimants while talks are underway with the Saudi government regarding the workers' unpaid back wages," Ople  said.

“Kami sa DSWD, susuporta kami dahil may mga programa rin kami para sa mga pamilya ng OFWs natin na nandito sa Pilipinas or yung mga pabalik pa lang,” Gatchalian said.

(The DSWD will provide support because we also have programs for OFW families who are here in the Philippines or those who have just returned.) —LBG, GMA Integrated News