132 Distressed OFWs Received Livelihood Financial Assistance from OWWA
Rosana (not her real name) went to Cyprus to work as domestic worker. Just like thousands of overseas Filipino workers, she went overseas with big dreams for her family. And just like hundreds of OFWs who seemed to have ran out of luck, they were subjected to various inhumane condition that almost broke them, not only physically but also mentally.
Her employer fed her with food not fit for human consumption, either beyond expiration date or almost nearly spoiled; she was allowed to wash her clothes only once a month; she was forced to clean houses of her employer’s relatives, and her salary is not paid on time. Ana’s (not her real name) story is almost as same as Rosana’s but this time, Ana was forced to take care not only her employer’s children but also her pets. Ana had to groom and walk 4 dogs and 4 cats aside from the 2 children she had to take care. Ana said she tried to endure the situation, until she developed skin allergy due to the pets. She went home with rashes and hives as reminders of her unfortunate experience.
These are just some of the conditions that our OFWs had to endure when they work overseas. OWWA, as the lead government agency that serves the interest and welfare of OFWs, try its best to alleviate such condition by offering them programs and services such as the Balik-Pinas Balik Hanapbuhay (BPBH) Program. This program is a package of livelihood support/assistance intended to provide immediate relief to returning member-OFWs active or non-active who were:
1) Displaced by hostilities or wars/political conflicts, policy reforms or changes by host governments;
2) Victims of illegal recruitment or human trafficking or other distressful situations;
3) Distressed wards at the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Resource Centers who are due for repatriation;
4) Repatriated OWWA-members who were employed by foreign employers which are beset with financial difficulties due to economic conditions, such as construction and maintenance companies in Saudi Arabia
A total of 132 OFWs from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) received PhP20,000.00 cash assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to help them start or expand their existing business enterprise that would help them support their families. Baguio City and Benguet province has the highest recipients with 66 OFWs, second is Abra with 27, third is Ifugao with 20, Apayao with 9, Kalinga with 6, and Mt. Province with 4. Distressed OFWs can file their applications within 3 years from the latest date of their arrival in the Philippines.
For those OFWs who may have the same experience, you can apply for the BPBH program at the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration-Cordillera Administrative Region (OWWA CAR) under the leadership of OIC Regional Director Evelyn C. Laranang. OWWA-CAR can be reached through hotline number 445-2260 or mobile numbers 0999-994-9296 or 0917-500-1294.