Davao City – In line with its mandate to provide social protection and promote the welfare of member Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Region XI has released a total of P42,327,449.83 representing various financial assistance to 2,844 member OFWs from January to August 2019.

Of this amount, P24,094,750.00 or 56% of total benefits was released to 1,222 beneficiaries for livelihood assistance.   Under the Balik-Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay Program (BPBH), each of the 1,196 beneficiaries received up to P20,000.00 financial grant.  Another P449,750.00 was released to 26 surviving dependents of deceased OWWA members under the Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP).  The BPBH is a financial grant for livelihood development extended to distressed OWWA members who were not able to finish their employment contracts due to political instability in the host country, medical problems of the workers, bankruptcy of the employer or maltreatment and abuse experienced by the worker, among other reasons.  On the other hand, ELAP assists surviving dependents of deceased OFWs in developing their business ventures through a  P15,000.00 worth of starter kits.

Under the Social Benefits Program, a total of P9,240,740.00 was released to 255 beneficiaries.  Of this number, 50 direct dependents received P5,840,000.00  as death benefits, 185 got P2,677,000.00 for medical, bereavement, disability, relief and calamity assistance under the Welfare Assistance Program while another 20 OFWs with active OWWA memberships claimed P723,740.00 under the MedPLUs program.

Meanwhile, another P8,596,900.66 was released to 1,340 grantees under OWWA`s various scholarship programs.  There were 432 scholars under the Educational Development Scholarship Program, OFW Development Scholarship Program, Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program, and Education and Livelihood Assistance Program.  Another 908 OWWA members and dependents received a total of P4,467,400.66 for short-term course offerings under the agency`s Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP) and Seafarers` Upgrading Program (SUP).

There were also 27 availees who received financial assistance amounting to P394,061.07 under the Special Program for displaced OFWs from the Kingdom of  Saudi Arabia.

This package of benefits was availed of by active OWWA members.  Membership in OWWA is determined by the payment of a US$25.00 contribution of landbased and seabased workers.  It is valid for 24 months and open to all Filipinos working overseas.  To know more about the benefits and other programs and services, they may visit the OWWA – Regional Welfare Office XI located at Doors E-G, Cam Building, Monteverde St., Davao City or call hotline numbers 0917-7011135/0917-7011126 or telephone numbers (082) 227-9536/221-8593 for further details. (By Maricel T. Sarabillo, LCO, OWWA-RWO)