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DOLE suspends AKAP subsidy program for lack of funds

 

By Leslie Ann Aquino

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has suspended the acceptance of applications for the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program for overseas Filipino workers.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III (ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III
(ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

This, after the Labor department exceeded the target beneficiaries of 150,000 OFWs.

“We will have to stop accepting applications,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in an interview.

“We have already put on hold the program because we already (exceeded) our allocation, which is only for 150,000 OFWs,” he added.

According to DOLE, it received more than 400,000 applications for AKAP, a total of 137,204 of which have been approved.

The DOLE earlier said overseas workers, both land-based and sea-based, who have been displaced by a lockdown in a foreign country will be given a one-time financial assistance amounting to P10,000 or US$200, or the equivalent amount in their host countries, under the AKAP program.

The program seeks to assist about 150,000 OFWs on-site or in host countries affected by lockdowns and those in the Philippines who are unable to return to their destinations.

In a virtual press briefing Tuesday, Bello revealed that they already requested for an additional P2.5 billion funding for the program in order to accommodate more OFWs.

“They are contributing a lot to our economy. And it is only just now that they are asking for our help. This is the first time that we can be able to repay them for their annual contribution to the economy,” he said of the OFWs.

“Hopefully, our leaders will be touched and give the additional funding. Hopefully, this will answer for the needs of more OFWs displaced as a result of COVID-19,” Bello added.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/05/13/dole-suspends-akap-subsidy-program-for-lack-of-funds/)

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