Home Finance Marcos Administration Steps Up Financial Assistance for Overseas Filipino Workers

Marcos Administration Steps Up Financial Assistance for Overseas Filipino Workers

DMW Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac

MANILA – The Philippine government is ramping up its support for the country’s overseas workforce, with the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) disbursing nearly 1 billion pesos from its “Aksyon Fund” to aid thousands of distressed workers.

Migrant Workers Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac reported that the Aksyon (Action) Fund has so far assisted over 52,000 OFWs with legal and labor support, while providing financial assistance to around 10,000 others. This marks a significant increase from previous aid packages, which typically ranged from 10,000 to 20,000 pesos.

“The financial package is unprecedented,” Cacdac said during a pre-State of the Nation Address broadcast. “Those who returned from Israel and Sudan, they got 50,000 pesos.”

The Aksyon Fund, which has a 2.8 billion peso budget allocation for 2024, is designed to provide legal, medical, financial and other forms of aid to OFWs, including repatriation, shipment of remains, evacuation, rescue, and other assistance to protect the rights of Filipino nationals abroad.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has made the welfare of OFWs a priority, vowing to strengthen protection and ensure government support during times of crisis. This commitment was underscored during last year’s State of the Nation Address and the recent Labor Day commemoration.

“Our priority is to ensure that the principles of ethical recruitment, fair employment, and the safe and orderly migration of our people, are embodied in our agreements with other countries,” Marcos said in his previous SONA.

The DMW and its attached agency, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), have been responding to distress calls from OFWs, particularly during the Sudan humanitarian crisis that erupted in April 2023 and the conflict between Israel and militant group Hamas that began in October 2023.

Cacdac noted that the whole-of-government approach, as ordered by the President, has involved the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Health, Social Welfare and Development, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

The DMW has also taken on over 54,000 cases, including claims and legal battles, in addition to the 9,400 cases being handled by international posts. These range from complaints against employers to cases of abuse, improper salaries, and immigration-related issues.

The government’s efforts to streamline the fund distribution and make it more accessible to OFWs in need reflect its commitment to supporting the backbone of the Philippine economy – the millions of Filipinos who work abroad to provide for their families and contribute to the nation’s development.