THE government has allotted P5 billion more to help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the global coronavirus pandemic, according to the Labor department.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved the release of the fund for the repatriation of migrant Filipinos and other aid, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said in a statement on Sunday.

“He will give us the additional fund for the repatriation and aid of our OFWs,” he said.

The agency said the P5 billion will be released to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), which is in charge of facilitating the return of OFWs.

The OWWA also pays for the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) tests, accommodation of overseas workers under quarantine and their return to their home provinces.

The Labor department earlier said its P2.5-billion emergency fund for OFWs had been depleted. The fund helped about 250,000 OFWs but the agency received half a million applications for aid.

The DoLE has approved the applications of 267,584 OFWs affected by the pandemic. OFWs get a one-time cash subsidy of P10,000 under the program. — Gillian M. Cortez