MANILA, Dec 4 (Mabuhay) — An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant (CBCP-ECMI) has expressed gratitude to the government for its efforts to repatriate overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

CBCP-ECMI vice chairperson, Bishop Ruperto Santos said on Friday he appreciates the efforts of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for continuing to send back home Filipino workers which have reached a running total of 809,374 as of November 28.

“With continuous Covid-19, jobs in foreign lands are uncertain. We appreciate the responsible and helpful repatriation efforts of DOLE for our displaced OFWs. Here, their livelihood program TUPAD (Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced’ Workers) is a great help and financial assistance to them,” Santos said in an interview over church-run Radio Veritas.

TUPAD is a flagship program of the DOLE under Department Order No. 173-17 which provides transitional emergency employment to vulnerable workers.

The Balanga prelate also urged the people to continue to pray and trust God to put an end to the global pandemic.

“All have been affected by Covid-19. No one is exempted. We are suffering. The economy is hurting. We are burdened. Right now all are very much worried about Omicron (variant). Yet let us trust God, and turn to Him all the more so that it will be contained and vaccines will more effectively against it,” he said.

Santos also reported that the Diocese of Balanga continues to help children of OFWs particularly those who lost their jobs, by providing them with scholarships in parochial schools.

“Our care and help to our OFWs on the part of the Church is to give scholarship grants to the sons and daughters of our OFWs in their parochial schools. This is what we doing in the Diocese of Balanga,” he said.

“Our Stella Maris-Philippines give monetary assistance to our seafarers, doing counseling and introducing livelihood programs,” he added.

The government started the repatriation of affected OFWs in May 2020. (MNS)

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