May 19, 2024

Bicol Express News

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“Right to know” webinar exposes OFWs sad plight during pandemic

By Joey Natividad

COVID-19 pandemic is a period of high anxiety and uncertainty for many OFWs all over the world.

Despite the pandemic, OFWs find ways to send money home.

In 2020, there was only a slight decrease in remittances by 0.8%.

Personal remittances from OFWs reached US$33.2 billion in 2020 (US$300 million less than in 2019) which represents 9.2% of the country’s GDP in the same year, according to a report from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

An updated report, as of April 11, 2021, the number of Displaced OFWs were 639,698.

During the pandemic, 511,452 were repatriated to their hometowns.

While, 49,727 displaced OFWs to be repatriated. But, 78,519 other OFWs opted to stay on-site.

This report was taken from DOLE-POLO.

These were among the highlights discussed in the webinar, “Kwentong OFW: Impormasyon at Ayuda sa Panahon ng Pandemya!”, held on June 16, 2021.

The webinar invited on-site OFW resource persons to share their concerns and expectations from the government during the pandemic.

The webinar was launched by The Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition’s (R2KRN), FOI Youth Initiative, and Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA).

Some participating groups in the webinar are the CMA CamSur OFW Family Circle, and Tigaon POBA of Camarines Sur.

OWWA, DOLE resource speakers presented data and updates on the issues.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III assured the participants his awareness on the sad plight of OFWs during the pandemic and the expediency to address the various concerns.

According to Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the total OFW deployment dropped 74.5%, from 2.2 million in 2019 to 549,800 in 2020.

On OFW Deployment, 2019-2020 (in thousands), of the total deployment in 2020, 368,366 (66.6%) were land-based workers, and 181,434 (33.4%) were sea-based workers.