The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has noted a 60 percent decrease in the number of Filipino workers deployed overseas since January this year.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said only 682,000 OFWs were deployed from January to September 2020 compared to the 1.72 million that were deployed during the same period in 2019.
“There was really a huge decrease in the number of [deployments] from what we used to deploy,” he said in an online forum Thursday, Oct. 22.
Of the more than 600,000 Filipino workers deployed, Bello said 440,000 were land-based and 241,000 sea-based.
The labor chief said a total of 505,837 OFWs were also affected by the coronavirus pandemic, 496,435 of which were displaced.
“Either they lost their job or they could not work because of the lockdown,” Bello said.
According to the labor chief, 260,575 of those displaced have already been repatriated.
“When I say repatriated it means we were able to bring them not only to the Philippines but to their final destination with their loved ones,” he said.
“We still have more than 100,000 that we will have to repatriate on or before the end of this year,” Bello added.
However, he said, some 104,000 OFWs refused to come home.
To help OFWs financially, DOLE has been extending a one-time P10,000 or $200 cash aid under the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program to OFWs whose incomes were affected by the pandemic, both on-site and those stranded in the country.
Last month, Bello said more OFWs will benefit from the AKAP program following President Duterte’s signing of the Bayanihan to Recover as One or Bayanihan 2 law.