OFWs in 29 countries prioritized for AKAP


    DISPLACED overseas Filipino workers based in 29 countries with existing Philippine Overseas Labor Offices are set to be prioritized in the one-time cash assistance program of the Department of Labor and Employment.

    Based on Department Order No. 220-20, DOLE said OFWs displaced by the pandemic in 29 countries with POLOs will be given priority in the Abot Kamay Ang Pagtulong for OFWs (AKAP-OFW) program under the “Bayanihan to Recover is One Act” (Bayanihan 2 Law).

    “The DOLE shall provide financial assistance to displaced OFWs, who are in the following countries territories with POLO presence,” said DOLE.

    The list includes 10 countries in the Middle East and Africa, namely, Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.
    Also in the list are 10 areas in the Asia and the Pacific – Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, and New Zealand.

    Completing the list are Canada, Cyprus, Italy, Germany, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States.

    DOLE-International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) Director Alice Visperas said displaced OFWs who have been repatriated by the government can apply for the AKAP program regardless of their country of origin.

    AKAP is a DOLE program that provides COVID-displaced OFWs a one-time cash aid amounting to P10,000 or $200. DOLE data showed the AKAP program has received 683,369 applications for cash assistance and has P3.45 billion, benefitting 338,900 distressed OFWs.

    With the fresh P2 billion fund allocated under the Bayanihan 2 Law, DOLE said an additional 200,000 OFWs are expected to benefit from the program.