OWWA-12 releases financial help to 38 former Libya OFWs

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 8 Sept) – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Region 12 has released a total P380,000 in financial assistance since last month to 38 Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from the region who have returned home following their repatriation from Libya.

Marilou Sumalinog, OWWA Region 12 director, said the repatriated workers were among the OFWs deployed in Libya who availed of the emergency evacuation implemented by the national government in the wake of the escalation of conflict in the Middle Eastern state since July.

She said the 38 OFWs received one-time grants of P10,000 as set under the agency’s Assist WELL (Welfare, Employment, Livelihood and Legal) Program.

“Thirty-five of these workers were documented and active OWWA members while the three others were undocumented OFWs,” she said in a statement.

OWWA-12 earlier said at least 79 active OWWA-registered workers from the region had agreed to undergo repatriation from Libya.

Assist WELL program provides comprehensive reintegration services for repatriated OFWs from countries experiencing crisis situations or emergencies such as Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Kenya.

OFWs will be assisted from the time of their repatriation overseas to their return and reintegration with their family, community and the economy.

Aside from the Assist WELL grant, repatriated OFWs may avail of additional assistance from the P2-billion reintegration loan fund for OWWA members and the “Balik-Pinay, Balik-Hanapbuhay” program for distressed OFWs.

OWWA has also made available a livelihood assistance worth P10,000 for repatriated undocumented workers.

Sumalinog said they expect that more OFWs from Libya will be able to return home and avail of the financial assistance in the next few weeks.

She assured that they have enough funds to cover for the emergency cash assistance of the returning OFWs in the region.

But she said only workers who were repatriated or returned home after July 20 are eligible to avail of the P10,000 financial assistance.

The Department of Foreign Affairs ordered the mandatory evacuation of OFWs in Libya last July 20 after raising the area’s situation to alert level 4 in response to its “extremely unstable political and security situation.”