To show recognition for the valuable contribution of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Senator Sonny Angara has urged the government to strengthen its programs and services for OFW families here in the country.
“Habang malayo ang ating mga OFW sa kanilang pamilya, tungkulin ng gobyerno na alagaan ang mga anak, asawa, magulang, at kapatid na naiwan nila dito sa bansa. Dapat ay tumbasan ng karampatang tulong ng gobyerno ang sakripisyo at hirap na dinaranas ng ating mga kababayan abroad,” said Angara, as the country celebrated Migrant Workers’ Day on June 7.
The veteran legislator, who sponsored the law strengthening the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) or Republic Act 10801 that mandates government funding for OFW welfare programs, stressed that OWWA should ensure that OFW families really benefit from the scholarships and skills training programs of the government.
OWWA should ensure that OFW families really benefit from the scholarships and skills training programs of the government.
Among the OWWA programs for OFW families is the OFW Dependent Scholarship that comes in the form of an educational financial assistance of P20,000 a year for the college education of legal dependents of overseas workers.
To qualify, the OFW should be an active OWWA member whose monthly salary is US$400, roughly P20,000, or below.
Every year, a total of 1,250 scholarship slots are allocated-200 of which should come from the 10 poorest provinces in the country.
“Habang nagbabanat sila ng buto sa ibang bansa para masiguro na may maipadalang pera pang-tuition, dapat ay napakikinabangan din, lalo na ng mga OFW na maliit lang ang kita abroad, ang dagdag tulong-pinansyal para sa pagpapaaral ng kanilang mga anak,” the vice chairman of labor and education committees said.
Another program is the skills-for-employment scholarship for OFW dependents wherein OWWA shoulders the cost of their training in vocational/technical courses accredited by TESDA and other government institutions.
Under the skills-for-employment scholarship for OFW dependents, OWWA shoulders the cost of their training in vocational/technical courses accredited by TESDA and other government institutions.
Moreover, the seasoned lawmaker pointed out that qualified dependents of OFW members of PhilHealth are entitled to the same benefits as the OFW principal members even if they are working overseas.
PhilHealth should cover over 4,000 medical and surgical procedures including cancer cases, dialysis, and other dreaded diseases that cause hospitalization for OFW members and their dependents.
“Hindi na dapat mangamba ang ating mga OFW kung may pera ba panggamot o pambayad sa ospital ang pamilya nila sa Pilipinas dahil sagot na ito ng PhilHealth. Tulungan natin na mapagaan ang kalooban ng ating mga OFW sa pamamagitan ng pagkalinga sa kanilang mga naiwang pamilya,” the youthful senator said.
OFW members and their dependents, along with indigents and sponsored members, are also entitled to primary care benefits that include free check-ups, laboratory tests and medicines.
Angara is pushing for these preventive health services such as free check-ups, laboratory tests and medicines to be available to all Filipinos.
“By ensuring that these scholarships, skills trainings, and health services are enjoyed by their families back home is the least that the government can do to show our gratitude for the immense contributions of our modern day heroes to the national economy,” he said.
Every year on June 7, the Philippines marks “Migrants Workers’ Day” to celebrate the signing of Republic Act 8042 or the Migrant Workers Act of 1995.