ASSISTANCE. Jessie Cruz (center), a resident of Mariveles, Bataan, and a former overseas Filipino worker, shows the cash assistance that he received from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) during the distribution at the Capitol compound in Balanga City, Bataan on Wednesday (Sept. 14, 2022). This is under the DOLE's Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program that gives one-time financial assistance of PHP10,000 to OFWs who lost their employment amid the pandemic. (Photo courtesy of OWWA Region 3)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Labor and Employment-Central Luzon (DOLE-3) on Wednesday started releasing cash assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) whose employment was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is under the DOLE’s Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program that gives one-time financial assistance of PHP10,000 to displaced OFWs.

DOLE Regional Director Geraldine Panlilio said their agency is distributing the cash aid to the first batch of approved applicants at the DOLE Regional Office in Barangay Maimpis, this city.

“The DOLE Provincial Offices in Aurora, Bataan, and Bulacan also started the releasing today while the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, and Zambales will start the releasing of DOLE AKAP tomorrow, Sept. 15, 2022,” Panlilio said in a social media post.

She said the scheduled release is only for the first batch of approved applications composed of 1,332 OFWs.

She added that the distribution schedule for the succeeding batches will be announced soon.

Maryjane Baza, a resident of Mabalacat City, Pampanga who is one of the program beneficiaries, thanked the DOLE and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) for the assistance.

“Eto na po, eto na yung totoo. Na-receive ko na po yung aking DOLE AKAP! Region 3, mabuhay po tayong lahat! (This is it, this is the truth. I already received my DOLE AKAP! Region 3, long live all of us),” Baza said in a video interview.

Likewise, former OFW Jessie Cruz of Mariveles, Bataan is thankful for the aid from the government.

“Ako ay isang dating OFW na nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa pandemic. Nag-apply ako sa DOLE AKAP at nagpapasalamat ako sa OWWA sa agarang pag-follow-up ng aking mga requirements (I was a former OFW who lost my job due to pandemic. I applied for DOLE AKAP and I would like to thank OWWA for its prompt follow-up on my requirements),” Cruz said. (PNA)