Mayor Evelio Leonardia met with officials of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration recently to discuss programs that will benefit Bacolodnon overseas Filipino workers and their families, who were adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This meeting with OWWA officials is very timely. Many of our Bacolodnon OFWs are back home. They have been displaced and they need help badly. The city government is ready to assist them to avail of these grants from the OWWA and the DOLE, DTI, and other national government agencies concerned,” Leonardia said during the meeting at Acacia Hotel on May 1, a press release from the city said.
The DOLE and OWWA launched the “”ulong Puso” program to support the formation, enhancement, and restoration of livelihood ventures of accredited associations of OFWs.
There are around 10 to 11 million OFWs nationwide and abroad, and over 40,000 of them are from Bacolod City, the press release said.
Under the “Tulong Puso”, a one-time grant assistance in the form of raw materials, equipment, tools and jigs, and other support services shall be given to OFW organizations to help them start a business and cope with the effects of their displacement due to the pandemic.
The amount of grant shall be based on the project requirement of up to P1 million for OFW organizations with more than 51 members. The cash grant starts at a minimum of P150,000.
The DOLE and OWWA are also prepared to provide training and social preparation intervention to ensure the success of the chosen enterprise of the OFWs, that shall be done in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture.
To be eligible, the OFW group must be duly registered – either as a workers’ association with the DOLE, as a corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or as a cooperative with the Cooperative Development Authority.
At least 80 percent of the OFW group members must be OWWA members. The remaining 20 percent may be comprised of undocumented or irregular OFWs and/or their families.
Any interested DOLE, CDA, or SEC-registered OFW groups may submit their project proposals together with the required documents to any of the 17 OWWA regional welfare offices in the country for evaluation.
Those who have been previously awarded the Tulong Puso grant, pursuant to Memorandum of Instructions 006, series of 2018, shall no longer be qualified to avail of the program, the press release said.
The meeting was also attended by City Administrator Em Ang, OIC-City Health Officer Dr. Edwin Miraflor Jr., EOC deputy medical Dr. Chris Sorongon, executive assistant Ma. Teresa Manalili, Bacolod Housing Authority head Victoria Parreñas, OWWA deputy administrators Esther Margaux Uson and Faustino Sabarez III and OIC-Region 6 director Rizza Joy Moldes, the press release added.*