P1-B scholarship fund for children of displaced, deceased OFWs OK’d –Bello

MANILA, Sept 26 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Labor and Employment and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) have partnered to provide a one-time college education subsidy for the children of displaced or deceased overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

In a statement on Saturday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the DOLE signed a memorandum of agreement with CHED and Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Chairman Prospero De Vera III on Friday for the provision of P1-billion scholarship fund to be rolled out by the government this year.

Bello said more than 30,000 college students who are dependents of repatriated, displaced, and deceased OFWs are set to benefit from the scholarship fund.

The education subsidy is dubbed “Tabang OFW,” the program entitles one college-level dependent of a repatriated, displaced, or deceased OFW to receive a one-time financial assistance of P30,000, thus help in augmenting their education expenses.

Under the agreement, the DOLE shall issue orders, circulars or guidelines that will spell out the effective and efficient implementation of the program, including the appropriate use of funds, adherence to the usual government accounting and auditing rules, and submission of reports.

The CHED, on the other hand, will release the funds amounting to P1 billion to DOLE for the implementation of the educational assistance program to the qualified college children dependents of the said OFWs.

As for UniFAST, the agency shall assist DOLE on the promotion and other information dissemination activities of the program and jointly work in crafting the guidelines, coverage, and criteria in availing the subsidy under the Tabang OFW program.

Bello said the assistance is just among the many ways the government is reciprocating the contributions of OFWs to the country.

“We hope this will go a long way in helping our OFWs and their children in these most challenging times. By doing this, we also hope we can partly repay our modern-day heroes,” he said.

To date, more than 220,000 OFWs affected by the COVID pandemic have been repatriated by the government, according to the DOLE.  (MNS)

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