Over 410,00 overseas workers have returned home

MORE than 410,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have returned to the country due to the global economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic are back to their home provinces, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) reported. In a statement on Sunday, DoLE said data from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) show that over 8,000 OFWs were sent home last week alone. “Total repatriates who have undergone quarantine and were cleared of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) stood at 410,211 as of January 16,” the department said. DoLE started its program of assisting repatriated OFWs transit back to their home provinces last May 2020. The labor department said it expects more OFWs to fly back to the Philippines as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect economies worldwide. Around 60,000 to 80,000 are expected to be repatriated this year based on compiled data of its labor offices around the globe. “Those awaiting repatriation form part of the over 520,000 OFWs displaced by the COVID pandemic that continues to plague economies around the globe, the DoLE said. There are about 2.2 million OFWs, based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) 2019 survey. — Gillian M. Cortez

Housing sector group formed to strengthen drive vs scammers

A GROUP with representatives from both government and the private sector has been formed to review existing policies and recommend new guidelines to prevent scammers in the housing industry. Housing Secretary Eduardo D. Del Rosario, in a statement on Sunday, said the technical working group (TWG) led by Undersecretary Meynardo A. Sabili will “institutionalize the department’s intensified drive against real estate scammers through a Joint Memorandum Agreement on Anti-Illegal Real Estate Practices.” Industry stakeholders and other concerned government agencies will be part of the TWG. “We need to put a stop to these illegal activities through institutionalized pro-active efforts in collaboration with our stakeholders, national and local government units, law enforcement agencies, including legitimate developers, who are also victims of these scammers,” Mr. Del Rosario said. “We should be relentless in our campaign to protect home buyers and legitimate workers in the real estate industry,” he added. Under Presidential Decree 957, no real estate dealer, broker and salesperson are allowed to engage in the business of selling subdivision lots or condominium units without registration from the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD). MSJ