278 OFWs from Bicol come home

LEGAZPI CITY—The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Bicol on Wednesday said a total of 278 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) from the region have returned home from abroad amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Rowena Alzaga, OWWA-Bicol spokesperson, in an interview said the OFWs were sent home by their employers.

She said the agency has recorded a total of 358 displaced OFWs. Of this number, 278 have arrived in Bicol in batches during the past days and turned over to various local government units where they reside.

The latest to arrive were the six OFWs on board a Philippine Airlines “sweeper plane” commissioned by the United States Embassy to fetch 40 US citizens who were stranded in Bicol when the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine was declared last March.

OWWA data indicate that Camarines Sur had the highest number of displaced OFW with 124; followed by Albay, 81; Sorsogon, 32; Camarines Norte, 31; Masbate, 7; and Catanduanes, 3.

The data also showed that 70 percent or 190 of the OFWs are sea-based workers while 30 percent or 88 are land-based.

Alzaga said the assistance given to the displaced Bicolano OFWs was under the OWWA's “Uwian Na” program where the agency provided transportation service and meals to them as well as endorsed them to various quarantine facilities in the province.

When asked what other assistance could be given to the OFW returnees, Alzaga said they could apply for the Department of Labor and Employment's cash assistance program under which they could receive a PHP10,000 financial aid. (by Mar Serrano, PNA)