Philippine Standard time

Reintegrating Overseas Filipino Workers Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are among those adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic Returning OFWs belong to vulnerable groups that need immediate attention and assistance More than 18,000 overseas Filipinos have reportedly returned home since the repatriation of 30 Filipinos from Wuhan, China, in February (Ramos, 2020) They join millions of Filipinos who have lost their jobs and face risks, pressures, and uncertainty during these critical times. What measures did the national government undertake to address the needs of returning OFWs due to the pandemic? How can different stakeholders play a role in potential areas for policy intervention? What are the long-term solutions needed to reintegrate OFWs displaced by this global health crisis? The brief discusses the government's response to the plight of returning OFWs in light of the COVID-19 pandemic With protocols in place, relief measures were given to stranded OFWs such as transportation, cash assistance, temporary shelter in quarantine facilities, and food. The influx of tens of thousands of OFWs returning to the country is daunting The assistance they need during this time includes sources of income, health care including psychological support, and legal assistance in cases where recruitment / manning agencies do not release benefits or claims due them. Long-term solutions are needed to address the needs of returning OFWs as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Interventions in support of their needs are crucial and can be enhanced in the national reintegration program. Collaborative efforts by national and local governments, Congress, migrant organizations, and the private sector are imperative.


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