LIVELIHOOD AID. Beneficiaries of the Tulong Pangkabuhayan program of the provincial government of Pangasinan pose for a picture during the distribution of financial assistance on Jan. 26, 2022. The aid is part of the Abig Pangasinan recovery program to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economic condition of Pangasinenses. (Photo courtesy of Province of Pangasinan Facebook page)

MALASIQUI, Pangasinan – The provincial government of Pangasinan has distributed over PHP7 million financial assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) repatriated or displaced due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
 
Provincial Employment Services Office chief Alex Ferrer said over 1,300 OFWs from the province have benefited from the livelihood cash aid called Tulong Pangkabuhayan program, and the number is still increasing as it is a continuing program.
 
“This was started in November 2020 when Governor Amado Espino III thought of helping the Pangasinense OFWs amid the pandemic,” he said in an interview on Thursday. 
 
Aside from the PHP5,000 one-time cash assistance, Ferrer said OFWS underwent a financial management seminar 
 
“To guide them on how they would better manage their finances and how they could start their livelihood after they were repatriated,” he added.
 
Ferrer said most of the OFW beneficiaries were from the Middle East.
 
He said the beneficiaries were selected through coordination with the migrant desk officer of the local government units (LGUs) and the OFW family associations in the different localities in the province.
 
“We look into why they were repatriated, the number of years they’ve been working as OFWs before they were repatriated, and their economic condition. We prioritize of course those who started working as OFWs just a few years ago,” he said.
 
Ferrer said the LGUs provided monitoring forms to returning OFWs, and those who are consistently complying with the submission of forms were prioritized.
 
In a statement, Bugallon town administrator Amado Aquino thanked the provincial government on behalf of the OFW beneficiaries in their town.
 
“The amount may seem small but this could already be a capital to start a small business that could help in their everyday needs,” he said.
 
The financial assistance is part of the flagship recovery program of the provincial government, Abig (heal) Pangasinan, to assist displaced OFWs to start their own livelihood or small business. (PNA)