President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has promised to provide an additional P3 billion for the scholarship of the dependents of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic under the Tabang OFW program.
President Duterte has previously ordered the release of P1 billion education assistance to the dependents of OFWs, which already benefitted more than 19,000 students, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.
In his report during the President’s public address aired on Tuesday, Bello said the P1 billion released by the government can’t subsidize the education of all qualified students and the additional P3 billion announced by the President will help more beneficiaries.
The chief executive wants concerned agencies to look for the additional funding.
“So if you make it about P3 billion, I think marami na ‘yang matulungan sa public schools, minimal lang naman ang gastos diyan. And those who are in college, well, you can use the P3 billion, paikutin mo sa kanilang lahat and kung if need be, kung kulang, then we will increase the amount in time,” the President said.
“Over time, we will see how it develops. We have to get the results also. Only those that are studying na may puso mag-aral.”
At the same time, President Duterte wants the creation of an anti-illegal recruitment body composed of the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
“I would need a stronger — itong sa recruitment — whether it’s manpower or a very strong police punitive action,” he said.
The government’s anti-illegal task force unit must be fortified with the involvement of the police, which will do regular reporting, he said.
Currently, Bello said there is a task force on illegal recruitment headed by the Department of Justice together with Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Health, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and PNP.
Meanwhile, Bello also reported that the OFW hospital being constructed in Sindalan, San Fernando, Pampanga is expected to be completed this year and will be fully operational before the end of the President’s term.
The medical facility is being constructed through a joint partnership between different government agencies, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.(Pagcor), Pampanga government, and Bloomberry Cultural Foundation.
Bloomberry Cultural Foundation donated P600 million to build the facility while Pagcor provided P200 million for medical equipment.
The first-ever OFW Hospital and Diagnostic Center will cater to the medical needs of OFWs and their dependents. PND