Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has encouraged overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) whose children or dependents are college students to avail of the “Tabang OFW” aid program.
“Tabang OFW” is a tertiary education assistance program for dependents of COVID-affected OFWs being jointly undertaken by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
The assistance is on a first-come, first-serve basis. OFWs are advised to apply at DOLE regional offices. The office will facilitate the preparation of payment, including the release of the financial benefit to the grantees.
According to DOLE, Tabang OFW provides grant-in-aid to currently enrolled children of OFWs affected by COVID-19 who must meet the admission and retention requirements of government and private colleges and universities.
“Also, the qualified grantees must have not been expelled from school, are not recipients of any scholarship grant from any government agency, and are certified by DOLE as a dependent of an OFW who has been repatriated, or displaced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or had died from COVID-19,” said the labor department.
The recipients, DOLE said, must be financially dependent on the OFWs for their college education to qualify for the program, based on the joint memorandum circular signed by Bello and CHED chairman Prospero de Vera III last week.
Under the circular, DOLE will identify OFWs who have at least a dependent or is intending to enroll in a public or private higher education institution in the academic year 2020-2021.
The labor department said the repatriated or displaced OFW shall elect one of his or her dependent who shall be included in the program.
In the case of deceased OFW, DoLE said, the legal surviving spouse, parent, or next of kin shall elect the dependent.
The labor department said its regional offices (ROs) are all set to implement the P1-billion package of “Tabang OFW” aid grant. It will undertake the processing and evaluation of applications under the program and ensure its smooth implementation, including the release of cash grants to beneficiaries. The program is a one-time P30,000 cash aid to qualified beneficiaries.
The grant will cover school costs such as textbooks or learning materials, academic and extra-curricular expenses, and stipends including board and lodging, clothing, transportation, health or medical needs, and school supplies.
The fund for the program will be transferred to DOLE by CHED’s United Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education.