MANILA – The proposed PHP15.3-billion for the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) in 2024 would be earmarked for projects to promote the interests and welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said Tuesday.
In a statement, Pangandaman said more substantial assistance and projects for OFWs would be pursued by the DMW next year.
“These projects are aligned with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s commitment to promote the interests of Filipino migrant workers and protect them in crisis situations,” he said.
Pangandaman said around PHP9.7 billion would be allocated for the implementation of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Emergency Repatriation Program (ERP) which aims to assist OFWs who are forcibly repatriated.
She said the Balik Pinas, Balik Hanapbuhay Program (BPBH) was given a PHP9-million increase, receiving PHP440.115 million.
The BPBH is a package of livelihood support intended to provide immediate relief to returning OFWs. The program provides entrepreneurship development training and cash assistance amounting to PHP20,000 as start-up or additional capital.
Pangandaman said an additional PHP227.99 million was earmarked for the Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Pag-unlad ng Samahang OFWs (TULONG PUSO).
The TULONG PUSO initiative seeks to grant assistance to support the formation, enhancement or restoration of livelihood projects of OFW organizations.
Pangandaman said some PHP18 million was dedicated to the OFW Enterprise Development and Loan Program (EDLP), empowering the families of OFWs with viable business enterprises that will provide them with a steady income stream.
Mandated by Republic Act 10801, the EDLP is an enterprise development intervention of OWWA in partnership with the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines, which also allows the families of OFWs to create employment opportunities in their community.
“Sa ilalim ng pamumuno ni Pangulong Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., hinding-hindi po pababayaan ng ating pamahalaan ang kapakanan ng ating mga migrant workers (Under the leadership of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., the government will never abandon the welfare of our migrant workers). They are our heroes,” Pangandaman said.
“Dapat lang na sila po ay matulungan at maalalayan, lalo na sa panahon ng krisis. Katuwang po nila kami sa DBM. Katuwang po nila ang pamahalaan (They should get help and support, especially in times of crisis. The DBM is ready to assist. The government is their partner),” she added.
Pangandaman said about PHP1.2 billion would be used 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 other interventions to protect their rights.
A total of PHP13 million from the proposed budget would be tapped for the OFW Hospital and Diagnostic Center to cater primarily to the health care needs of OFWs and their qualified dependents.
The Department of Budget and Management said the budget for the programs, aimed at assisting the Filipino migrant workers, would be taken from the OWWA Fund. (PNA)