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“Every day we are delivering (AKAP) using five cars going around Riyadh to bring the $200 to our qualified OFWs.”
— Labor Attaché Nasser Mustafa
By EDD K. USMAN & DEEN MOHAMMAD
MANILA/RIYADH (SDN) — CLOSE to 3,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have already received their one-time cash assistance in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and in Kuwait.
Exact figures as of 2:02 p.m, May 16, Manila time, are 1,439 payout at US$200 each OFW recipient, totaling $287,800 in Riyadh alone, while in Kuwait the initial payout totaled 1,242, which amounted to $248,400.
The payout is under the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE)-AKAP Program for OFWs which Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced back in April. “AKAP” stands for “Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong” and is being provided to OFWs displaced by the global pandemic, the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
AKAP distribution is being implemented by respective Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) stations in countries where there are Filipino workers.
For POLO Riyadh the implementer is Labor Attaché Nasser Mustafa. He relayed on Saturday to SDN — Science & Digital News progress of the distribution to OFWs whose applications were approved.
“We started delivering DOLE-AKAP financial assistance on April 27, 2020. As of now, 1,439 (OFWs) have received the payout in Riyadh alone.
“Everyday we are delivering (AKAP) using five cars going around Riyadh to bring the $200 to our qualified OFWs,” Mustafa related. POLO Riyadh is renting two of the five cars.
POLO Riyadh has received over 20,000 online applications for DOLE-AKAP assistance, but not all of them will be eligible to get the $200 assistance as approval will depend on the funds from DOLE.
Aside from budget limitation, possible reasons for disapproval of OFWs’ applications include lack of requirements, and some other reasons.
As of May 11, online application has been suspended because of fund constraints, per instructions from DOLE.
He said though that the distribution of the one-time financial aid for OFWs displaced by the pandemic is being slowed down by the curfew in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
The POLO Riyadh, Mustafa said, received over 20,000 online applications from OFWs under its jurisdiction covering the capital and the Saudi Central Region.
“In Kuwait we have 1,242 payouts delivered to qualified OFWs.”
Labor Attaché Nasser Mustafa
Mustafa’s assignment also covers POLO Kuwait as the officer-in-charge.
“In Kuwait we have 1,242 payouts delivered to qualified OFWs. Last May 10, we stopped delivering the $200 because of the total lockdown imposed by Kuwait government. The lockdown will end on May 30,” the labor attaché pointed out.
Bello issued DOLE Department Order No. 212, series of 2020, on the AKAP program, which identified OFWs qualified to receive the financial assistance for both land-based and sea-based OFWs displaced by Covid-19. Officially it is called “DOLE-AKAP for OFWs.”
Photos from Facebook, credit to owners.
Here’s the guidelines laid down by the DOLE for AKAP, source OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration):
1. Regular / Documented OFW, as defined in the 2016 Revised POEA Rules and Regulations, refers to those:
a. who possesses a valid passport and appropriate visa or permit to stay and work in the receiving country; and
b. whose contract of employment has been processed by the POEA or the POLO.
2. Qualified Undocumented OFW:
a. who were originally regular or documented workers but for some reason or cause have thereafter lost their regular or documented status;
b. who are not registered with the POEA or whose contracts were not processed by POEA or the POLO, but have undertaken actions to regularize their contracts or status; or
c. who are not registered with the POEA or whose contracts were not processed by POEA or the POLO, but are active OWWA members at the time of availment.
3. Balik-Manggagawa who are unable to return to host country in view of host country lockdown due to COVID19.
The following shall be eligible for the DOLE-AKAP:
1. Those who have experienced job displacement due to the receiving country’s imposition of lockdown or community quarantine or having been infected by the Disease;
2. Must be still at overseas jobsites, or in the Philippines as Balik-Manggagawa, or already repatriated to the Philippines; and
3. Must not receive any financial support/assistance from the receiving countries/employers.
C. Application Procedure
FOR OFWs WHO HAVE BEEN REPATRIATED / BALIK-MANGGAGAWA OFWs who have been repatriated to the Philippines and Balik-Manggagawa are instructed to apply on-line, following these steps:
1. On your browser, type http://dole-akap.owwa.gov.ph and provide all required information, and click “NEXT” button;
2. Upload the following requirements on the specified button:
a. Copy of Passport or Travel Document;
b. Copy of flight ticket or boarding pass evidencing return to the Philippines or arrival stamp/sticker attached in the Passport;
c. Proof of overseas employment i.e. valid verified overseas employment, OEC, residence I.D.s, visa/re-entry visa, among others or permit to stay in the receiving country; and
d. Proof of loss of employment on account of Covid-19 or proof that the host country/ies are included in the list of those heavily affected by the Covid-19 (i.e. notice of termination of employment or closure of the company issued by the Foreign Recruitment Agency or principal/employer, incident report on the termination of employment submitted by the employer to the POLO concerned, Philippine Embassy/Consulate/POLO/OWWA certification/referral of displacement due to Covod-19, among others.)
e. For Qualified Undocumented Worker — proof that he/she and the employer have undertaken the necessary documentation to regularize her stay in the host country such as copies of employment contract, payslip, work visa, or other proof of employment.
f. Upon uploading necessary requirements, click “SUBMIT” button where a confirmation prompt will appear. In addition, a system-generated confirmation receipt will be sent to your e-mail.
3. The concerned OWWA Regional Office through its OWWA Officers will conduct validation/evaluation of received applications with complete documentary requirements, and approve/deny the application, whichever is applicable. During validation or verification of documents submitted, our OWWA Officers may call you through the provided contact details or Facebook Account. Please cooperate and be ready to show the actual documents, if so required.
4. Once approved, your documents will be submitted to the concerned DOLE Regional Office for funding through Money transfer or PESO Net, within five (5) working days upon approval.
FOR OFWs ON-SITE. Please get in touch with the nearest Philippine Labor Office (POLO) to avail (yourself of) the “DOLE-AKAP for OFWs” Program. (SDN)
Featured image of National Museum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, credit to and thanks to Sofi Layla on Pixabay (Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/SofiLayla-5331809/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2629869″>SofieLayla Thal</a> from <a href=”https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2629869″>Pixabay</a>).