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P1-B fund for OFWs sought

Las Pinas Representative Mark Villar has filed House Bill No. 2820, which seeks to create a P1-billion Special Assistance Fund for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in distress.

Villar filed the measure in the light of increasing number of distressed OFWs, both documented and undocumented, in various countries, specifically in the Middle East.

Last year, based on the 2013 figures of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), 2,283 overseas OFWs and their children were repatriated from strife-torn Syria, Egypt and from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Villar’s proposed measure seeks to use 30 percent of the P1-billion standby fund to support a livelihood training program or re-training of returning overseas Filipino workers in new skills and knowlege.

The remainder of the fund shall be utilized for repatriation, medical expenses, hospitalization and purchase of medicine in the form of vouchers for six months from arrival; migration fees for overstaying Filipinos; legal assistance including litigation expenses, legal fees, payment of translation fees, attendance in court hearings; payment of blood money, when necessary; and basic necessities of OFWs caught in emergence or are detained.