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The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration- Regional Welfare Office 1 (OWWA-RWO1) has started to assist OFWs from the war-torn Libya on Monday, August 11, 2014. OFWs who are repatriated on July 20, 2014, when the alert level was raised to Level 4 which is equivalent to Mandatory Repatriation, onwards are eligible to avail of the Financial Relief Assistance Program (FRAP) worth Ten Thousand Pesos (Php10,000.00).

The FRAP, which was ratified by the OWWA Board of Trustees through Board Resolution No. 7, Series of 2014, intends to extend Php10,000.00 financial grant to the OFWs (both OWWA member and non-member) who were displaced by the political unrest in Libya.

Meanwhile, OFWs who arrived in the country before the Alert Level 4 Status was raised are also entitled to a Livelihood Assistance through the OWWA Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program. This program offers a livelihood starter kit worth 10,000.00 to displaced and distressed workers to enable them to start a business venture.

Both the FRAP and the OWWA Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program are part of the Assist WELL  Program of the government spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Employment. Assist WELL stands for Welfare, Employment, Livelihood and Legal Assistance to be given by OWWA, POEA, NRCO and other attached agencies of DOLE to the OFWs who are repatriated due to emergency situations and adversities at their respective job sites. This program aims to deal with the predicaments and concerns of OFWs and to guarantee them of continuous assistance after their overseas employment.
 
As of August 12, 2014, there are already 70 Repatriated OFWs from Libya in Region 1 as per OWWA Membership Processing Center (OWWA-MPC) comprising of seven (7) OFWs from Ilocos Norte, nine (9) from Ilocos Sur, eight (8) from La Union and forty six (46) from Pangasinan. To date, there are already 11 OFWs who reported and who are given the one-time financial assistance worth Php10,000.00 in OWWA RWO1. The agency will continue to extend its services to the OFWs affected by the political crisis.

OWWA RWO1
August 13, 2012

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OFWs from war-torn Libya will return home within the next few days in separate flights, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said.

The repatriates availed of the government’s Mandatory Repatriation Program as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raised alert level 4 due to heightened tension in the said country. The government shouldered the airfares of the displaced OFWs.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz immediately instructed OWWA Administrator Rebecca J. Calzado to extend assistance to the repatriates through the ‘Assist WELL’ (Welfare, Employment, Livelihood and Legal Assistance) Program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Assist WELL program begins with airport assistance, temporary shelter/accommodation at OWWA Hostel, transport assistance to residence of returnees, emergency medical assistance, and stress debriefing.
It also includes livelihood packages such as the Balik-Pinay, Balik-Hanapbuhay and the Balik-Pinas, Balik-hanapbuhay programs.

The OWWA Repatriation Team will be at the airport to extend necessary assistance to the returnees, including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. They will facilitate the OFWs’ documents in the Immigration and Customs areas, ensure OFWs’ temporary shelter at the OWWA Halfway Home to those who are from the provinces, and will brief the migrant workers on the government’s Reintegration Program for OFWs, specifically the “Balik-Pinay, Balik-Hanapbuhay” Program.

As of July 31, a total of 620 OFWs were extended assistance by the  OWWA Repatriation Team.   The figures represent the actual returnees who  were given  Airport and other assistance by the Agency upon arrival at the NAIA. 

The Composite Team of the DFA, DOLE, OWWA, and  POEA expect the list of  OFWs to surge as  OFWs continue to inquire  at the  Philippine Embassy  in Libya  to flee the war-torn state. About 13,000 OFWs are working in Libya mostly in the oil industry, medical field, construction as well as service industry.

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz authorized the travel of a 2-man advance team to Libya comprised of Labor Attache Nasser Mustafa and Welfare Officer Eduardo Mendoza Jr. They augmented  the DFA Team in  monitoring  the situation and continue to  assist the OFWs there. Monitoring of the condition/situation of OFWs in countries where there are conflicts is being done by the government on a regular basis to safeguard the workers’ welfare and well-being.

In 2011, OWWA extended assistance to more than 10,000 OFWs during mass repatriation in Libya and 300 in Madagascar. Around 5,000 OFWs in Syria were assisted in 2012-2013.

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Kate Azylle dela Cruz Viray, an Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP) Scholar from Lingayen, Pangasinan was one of the 1, 525 passers of the June 2014 Pharmacist Licensure Examination.

Kate is the eldest daughter of OFW Rodolfo Viray, a seafarer for 24 years and Mrs. Arlyn Viray, the Officer-In-Charge of Lunec National High School in Malasiqui, Pangasinan. OFW Viray serves as 3rd Engineer for Minerva Marine Incorporated which is based in Athens, Greece.

Being an OFW dependent and belonging to the upper 20% of the graduating class during her high school, Kate qualified to take the EDSP qualifying examination  last 2009 and fortunately became one of the top 100 passers entire the Philippines. She enrolled at Saint Louis University (SLU) in Baguio City and took up Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. She finished her four-year course and graduated last April 2014. After her graduation she immediately prepared for the licensure exam which she took last June 23, 2014. After two working days the results were released by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and Kate was one of the 1,525 passers of the exam. The Oath taking for the new pharmacist will be on July 29, 2014 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

Kate is grateful and honored to her parents who tirelessly gave her unconditional love and support while pursuing her studies and at the same time with OWWA for being a part of her success. “We share this achievement with OWWA, as it was made possible through their help and assistance” Kate said.
Kate chose not to practice her profession for the meantime, instead, she enrolled Doctor of Medicine at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. She wants to continue her journey into becoming a doctor someday.

EDSP is just one of the many scholarship programs offered by OWWA to the dependents of OFWs. This program aims to assist the dependents of OFWs in pursuing a degree in College. OWWA takes pride to their scholars, like Kate, who are able to finish their college education with flying colors and who has achieved something to be proud of in their chosen fields.

OWWA RWO1
July 15, 2014

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OFW Felipe Siapno Bautista of Mangaldan, Pangasinan donated his Disability Benefit from OWWA amounting to Php 25, 000.00 to less-fortunate children of ex-OFWs from Region 1 through OWWA’s Tuloy Aral Project (TAP). He received the said amount on July 8, 2014 at the OWWA Regional Welfare Office 1 in San Fernando La Union but he immediately gave it back to OWWA to be donated to indigent children.


OFW Bautista was deployed on January 26, 2011 to work as a carpenter for Redco Construction Alamana in Doha, Qatar. It was in July 1, 2011 when he fell from a 5meter-scaffolding while he was working. He suffered from severe traumatic brain injury, left frontal contusion, left eye third nerve palsy and bilateral optic neuropathy, right blunt chest trauma, fracture of pelvis, fracture of vertebral body of thoracic spine and multiple spinous process fractures.


The worker was unconscious for 8 days at the Intensive Care unit (ICU). According to OFW Bautista, he thought he will not survive the tragic accident that has happened to him. But, through the help of his doctors and constant prayers, he was able to recover from the said incident. But, as a result of it, he was able to develop permanent left third nerve palsy and bilateral optic neuropathy. His company also gave him an insurance benefit amounting to 200,000.00 Qatari Riyals or almost Php2, 500, 000 when converted to Philippine Peso.

He donated a part of the amount to a special child in Mindanao. It is just this 2014 that he was able to go home after the incident. He then applied for his Disability Benefit at the OWWA Region 1. After the evaluation, he was given Php 25, 000.00 benefit and he decided to donate it to less- fortunate children in Region 1 through a special program of OWWA dubbed as theTuloy Aral Project (TAP). TAP aims to assist the children of less fortunate former OFWs as well as other poor and needy elementary and high school children though foster parents/ sponsors.

According to OFW Bautista, the second life given to him is more than enough, and so the other benefits which he was able to get as an insurance from the accident is worthy to be donated to other people who are in need.

At present, he still works at the same company but was given lighter job considering his condition. He usually does office chores particularly being a tea boy.

OFW Felipe and OWWA hopes that the amount that was donated will be in one way or another help the less-privileged students who will become the recipient of the said amount.

OWWA RWO1
July 15, 2014

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