Home Migrant News Proposed Funding for Department of Migrant Workers to Support Overseas Filipino Workers

Proposed Funding for Department of Migrant Workers to Support Overseas Filipino Workers

Proposed P15.3-B DMW budget
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman (PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Philippines government has proposed a substantial PHP15.3-billion budget for the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) in 2024, with the aim of promoting the welfare and interests of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), according to Secretary Amenah Pangandaman of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Pangandaman emphasized that the DMW would pursue more significant assistance and projects for OFWs in the coming year, aligning with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s commitment to safeguard the rights of Filipino migrant workers, especially during times of crisis.

Out of the total budget, approximately PHP9.7 billion will be allocated for the implementation of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Emergency Repatriation Program (ERP), which seeks to aid OFWs who are forcibly repatriated. This initiative provides essential support to help these workers reintegrate into society.

The Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay Program (BPBH) has been granted a PHP9-million increase, receiving PHP440.115 million. The BPBH offers a comprehensive livelihood support package designed to provide immediate relief to returning OFWs. It includes entrepreneurship development training and cash assistance of PHP20,000 as start-up or additional capital.

Moreover, an additional PHP227.99 million has been earmarked for the Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Pag-unlad ng Samahang OFWs (TULONG PUSO) initiative, which aims to assist in the establishment, enhancement, or restoration of livelihood projects for OFW organizations. This program recognizes the importance of sustainable livelihoods for the long-term economic stability of OFWs.

To empower the families of OFWs with viable business enterprises that provide a steady income stream, Pangandaman announced that PHP18 million has been dedicated to the OFW Enterprise Development and Loan Program (EDLP). The EDLP, mandated by Republic Act 10801, facilitates enterprise development in partnership with the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, thereby enabling OFW families to create employment opportunities within their communities.

Secretary Pangandaman underscored the unwavering commitment of the government, under the leadership of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., to prioritize the welfare of migrant workers, whom she referred to as national heroes. She emphasized that the DBM and the government as a whole stand ready to assist and support OFWs, particularly during times of crisis.

The proposed budget also includes PHP1.2 billion for the Agarang Kalinga at Saklolo para sa mga OFW na Nangangailangan (AKSYON) Fund, which provides legal, medical, financial, and other forms of assistance to OFWs, including repatriation, shipment of remains, evacuation, rescue, and interventions to protect their rights. Additionally, PHP13 million will be allocated to the establishment of an OFW Hospital and Diagnostic Center, primarily catering to the healthcare needs of OFWs and their qualified dependents.

The Department of Budget and Management has clarified that the funding for these programs, aimed at assisting Filipino migrant workers, will be sourced from the OWWA Fund. The government’s commitment to strengthening support for OFWs reflects the nation’s recognition of their invaluable contributions and the importance of ensuring their well-being while working abroad.