MANILA — The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration may begin next week the distribution of financial assistance to the families of overseas Filipino workers affected by the 7-magnitude earthquake that struck northern Luzon.
According to OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, the Department of Migrant Workers has allotted an initial P20 million worth of support and assistance fund.
"By next week sisimulan ang distribution kasi sa panahon na ito nauuna muna ang disaster relief agency," he told TeleRadyo Friday.
OWWA may first focus on hardest-hit areas such as Abra province, where the tremor originated Wednesday morning, Cacdac said.
The agency is also still waiting for the damage assessment report, which will come from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
It will also coordinate with the Department of Labor and Employment and local government units for smooth distribution of assistance.
In a statement issued Thursday, Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said affected families could file their applications with the nearest OWWA office.
She said they only need to show proof that at least 1 member of the family is an OFW currently deployed overseas.
Once verified, the applications shall be endorsed for financial assistance, Ople added.
DMW is also in discussion with the Home Development Mutual Fund or PAG-IBIG Fund to facilitate emergency loan applications of OFW families affected by the earthquake.
At least 6 people were reported killed and 136 others were injured in the powerful tremor, according to the NDRRMC. Four others remain missing.
Around 1,500 houses were damaged while damage to infrastructure was estimated at P48.3 million.
Over 79,000 people were affected, with 1,622 families still in 26 evacuation centers while 1,512 persons are camped outside their homes, the NDRRMC said.