A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Wednesday proposed to provide financial assistance for the families of 301 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have died abroad during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said he would recommend to the House of Representatives that the funds for the cash aid amounting to PHP100,000 to each of the affected families be included in the proposed Bayanihan 2 or Bayanihan to Recover as One bill.
“That is not much, but it would be a sincere gesture to our modern-day heroes in general that we appreciate their immense contribution to our country’s growth. Hundreds of them have died since the lockdown in March due to Covid-19 or while working to help their families and the nation,” Rodriguez said.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said the remains of the OFWs from Saudi Arabia will be repatriated by July, including 152 OFWs who died of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), and the 149 non-Covid-19 casualties.
Rodriguez said his proposed PHP100,000-cash aid would be in addition to whatever benefits the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) would give to the dead OFWs’ families.
“We can approve Bayanihan 2 shortly after we convene for our second regular session on July 27. We should give the assistance as soon as possible,” he said.
Rodriguez said local government units where the OFW families live could also extend to them some form of help.
“After all, those overseas workers contributed to the local economy with the huge sums they sent home which their families used for their daily requirements,” he said.
The first batch of OFW remains (49) had been brought home last July 10 while the second batch (88) arrived on July 19.
The DOLE said it is set to repatriate the third batch of OFW remains (57) next week. All of the 57 OFWs died of Covid-19.
Bello said the homecoming of the remains will follow the same health protocols observed in the first two batches of repatriation where Covid-19 victims were brought directly to crematoriums upon arrival. (PNA)