WASHINGTON, D.C. –More than 1,000 of the 3,000 applicants of the DOLE-AKAP one time US$200 financial assistance have been approved by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office-Washington DC (POLO-WDC) as of 26 April 2020. 

POLO-WDC said most of the applications have been processed within the 5-10-day period, including the sending of the notice of approval. However, Labor Attaché Angela Librado-Trinidad clarified that some of the workers have not been able to receive emails of acknowledgement immediately or even after the 5thday of filing, because of the volume of applications received for processing. 

“Since day one, we have been receiving an average of 300 to 400 applications daily. The POLO-WDC team vets the applications, and oftentimes finds submissions to be incomplete. We then inform the workers what they still need to submit for us to act on their applications,” Labor Attaché Librado- Trinidad said.

Half of the 3,000 applicants were also referred to POLOs in other regions since they were improperly filed. 

“To those whose jobsites do not fall not within the US or the Caribbean islands, including those who have been repatriated recently, and have not received our emails of referral yet, please understand that we cannot act on your applications for lack of jurisdiction,” Labor Attaché Librado-Trinidad stated. 

There are still about 800 applications up for review. Labor Attaché Librado-Trinidad said POLO-WDC might not be able to accommodate all of them due to limited funds at this time. 

The actual release of funds may take time after the approval because of certain procedures involved in effecting transfers through banks and remittance centers. 

“Based on our experience, it takes 3-7 days for the bank to process payment,” said the Labor Attaché. 

Meanwhile, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration-Washington DC (OWWA-DC), together with the Embassy’s consular team led by Consul General Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga, has extended food assistance to Filipino nationals in Trinidad and Tobago and released financial assistance to 10 crew members who were COVID-19 positive. 

“We are in touch with and constantly monitoring the 33 crew members who have been medically disembarked and we are thankful to be working with non-government organizations, specifically the Apostleship of the Seas, in monitoring the health conditions of our OFWs,” Welfare Officer Josephine Tobia said.Food assistance is also being arranged for delivery to Filipinos in the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.