Issue of February 9, 2020
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Stranded OFWs to get cash aid, others told to arm vs nCoV
by PNA with a report from Jedrick John Macario

An official of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration-Cordillera said they will give P10,000 cash aid to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who could not go back to their places of work due to the novel coronavirus threat.

OWWA-Cordillera Director Manuela Peña said some OFWs are supposed to go back to Hong Kong, Macau, and Mainland China from Feb. 2 to 9 but were not able to leave due to cancellation of flights to these countries.

“(The assistance) will be for those stranded on the first week because we don’t know, the ban might be lifted in the coming days,” she said.

Peña said they are preparing for contingencies.

Residents from the region and some from other provinces like Nueva Ecija have been flocking to the OWWA-Cordillera office along Magsaysay Avenue to avail of the government’s assistance.

Peña advised the OFWs who want to avail of the cash aid to bring their overseas employment certificate, valid passport, work permit, identification card, employment contract, and a copy of their airline ticket showing their flight schedules.

“They must have a working visa and members of OWWA or have undergone the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration) process, and not tourists,” she said.

Peña said they are hoping that things will go back to normal because the financial assistance will not sustain the OFWs’ needs.

“Everyone wants to go back to their work,” she said.

Meanwhile the Department of Labor and Employment urged OFWs to take the necessary precaution  and immediately report suspected cases of OFWs with symptoms of NCoV to hospitals and to the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices for assistance.

In Labor Advisory 3, s. 2020, Secretary Silvestre Bello III assured OFWs that the labor department, through the POLOs, is closely monitoring all cases linked to the viral pneumonia infections in Wuhan, Hubei Province in mainland China.

To prevent the spread of the disease, Bello, citing the World Health Organization, reminded OFWs to avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, wash hands frequently or use alcohol-based hand rub, and avoid close contact with farm or wild animals.

He also advised OFWs to avoid visiting crowded places and hospitals, wear a mask if necessary, practice cough etiquette, and consult a doctor immediately if they are developing symptoms.

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