During his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) given on July 27, 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned the need to provide aid, such as trainings and scholarships, to the dependents of repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), launched the Tabang OFW program The initiative provides financial grants to college-level dependents of OFWs. Keep on reading to know more about this program, including the qualifications, requirements, procedure, and other details…
DISCLAIMER: The following guide is presented for information-sharing purposes only. To learn more about Tabang OFW – the qualifications, requirements, procedures, and other details – you may contact the numbers given below, or visit the official Facebook pages of UniFAST and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
What is the Tabang OFW Program?
The Tabang OFW program is basically a Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) for college-level dependents of OFWs. Qualified beneficiaries shall receive a one-time grant of PHP 30,000 each. They can use this to continue/pursue higher education.
The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regarding Tabang OFW was signed on September 25, 2020 between DOLE, CHED, and UniFAST. These entities also issued Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2020-03, which marked the immediate implementation of the program.
Notably, UniFAST is an attached agency of CHED that implements main components of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (R.A. 10931). These include Tertiary Education Subsidy, Free Higher Education, and the Student Loan for Tertiary Education.
Who are the Beneficiaries of Tabang OFW?
The beneficiaries of the Tabang OFW program are college-level dependents of OFWs who have lost their jobs, been repatriated, or passed away due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One (1) college-level dependent will be considered for every qualified OFW. Specifically, these definitions of “OFW dependent” will be applied as well:
- For married OFWs – the dependent is their child who is single and 30 years old (or below).
- For single OFWs – the dependent is their child/sibling/nephew/niece who is single and 30 years old (or below).
What are the Qualifications for Tabang OFW?
To qualify for the program, the OFW dependent must be:
- A Filipino citizen;
- Qualified for admission and retention in a State University and College (SUC), CHED-recognized Local University and College (LUC), or private Higher Education Institution (HEI), and has not reached its Maximum Residency Requirements;
- Have never been expelled in any HEI;
- Enrolled in an undergraduate, post-secondary program of an SUC, CHED-recognized LUC, or private HEI that is included in the CHED Registry;
- A dependent of an OFW who is certified by DOLE-OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) to have lost his/her job, been repatriated, or passed away due to COVID-19; and
- Is not a beneficiary of a scholarship or grant from any government agency.
What are the Required Documents?
The following requirements must be submitted online to UniFAST and OWWA, respectively:
- Receipt of proof of enrollment (e.g. certificate of registration, certificate of enrollment, etc.)
- Documents for enrollment (e.g. admission test result, assessment form, etc.)
- Passport and other travel documents
- Proof of arrival (if returning OFW)
- Proof of displacement (e.g. POLO/company certification, affidavit, etc.)
- Death certificate (if OFW passed away)
- Embassy/Consulate official transmission
- Proof of relationship to dependent (e.g. dependent’s birth certificate, OFW’s marriage contract, etc.)
- Affidavit stating that the dependent is not a recipient of a government scholarship or grant.
How to Apply for OWWA Tabang OFW Program?
Here is a step-by-step guide to applying for the program:
- The OFW will submit an online application form via https://ease.owwa.gov.ph/.
- OWWA and its Regional Welfare Offices (RWOs) will receive and assess the applications before endorsing these to DOLE Regional Offices (ROs).
- DOLE ROs will submit a list of approved beneficiaries to DOLE Central Office (CO).
- DOLE CO will consolidate the lists before submitting to CHED-UniFAST the certified master list of Tabang OFW qualified beneficiaries.
- DOLE CO will prepare the documents for fund transfer via Cash Advance for the DOLE ROs.
- Within two (2) weeks of approval of the application, the OFW or his/her dependent will receive the grant via bank transfer or through an electronic payment facility.
How to Check Status of Tabang OFW Tracker Online?
After you have filled out your application for Tabang OFW, you can check and verify the status of your application by going to the website tracker link – https://tabangtracker.owwa.gov.ph
You need to enter your full name and email address and click “Search” in order to check the status if it is: pending, denied, approved. You can check a photo of the tracker below:
Frequently Asked Questions About Tabang OFW
Below are some common questions and answers regarding the program:
When can we apply for the Tabang OFW program?
The Tabang OFW program has a total financial assistance budget of Php 1 billion, which will be given to more than 30,000 beneficiaries. The program has been in place throughout Academic Year 2020-2021, and will last until the fund runs out. In any case, be sure to submit an online application via https://ease.owwa.gov.ph/ to see if you will qualify for the program.
How do I know if I qualify as a beneficiary?
As soon as your application is approved, you will receive a call, text message, or email from the DOLE or OWWA Regional Welfare Office (RWO) concerned. All you have to do is wait!
Nonetheless, if you are truly excited to know about the status of your application, you can also inquire online. Enter your details at the “Tabang Application Inquiry” webpage at https://tabangtracker.owwa.gov.ph/ and wait for their answer!
Whom do I contact about OWWA Tabang OFW?
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Tabang OFW program, you can contact the following numbers and email address:
- OWWA Hotline – 1348
- DOLE Command Center (email) – email@example.com
- Cellphone Numbers – 0961 595 8438 (Smart) / 0905 253 5680 (Globe)
- Landline Numbers – (02) 8568 0986 / (02) 8568 0984 / (02) 8527 3476 / (02) 8527 3525 / (02) 8527 2115 / (02) 5309 6605 / (02) 8353 8067
- DOLE Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) – (02) 8527 2539
Are you a repatriated OFW and you have lost your job due to the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, consider applying for the Tabang OFW program if you have a college-level dependent. This way, your child/sibling/nephew/niece can continue his/her education, despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic.
Video: Tabang OFW Updates
Below is a video from the OWWA Official YouTube channel regarding updates about the Tabang OFW program. Please check it out to learn more details about what to expect from this project:
Infographic: What to Expect from Tabang OFW
To learn more information about what to expect from Tabang OFW, below is an infographic that details important notes about this program. Please be guided accordingly:
Aside from Tabang OFW, another program offered by OWWA to OFW dependents is the Educational Assistance through Scholarship in Emergencies, which is also known as Project EASE. If you are an active OWWA member with a college-level dependent, consider applying for this program. Learn more about Project EASE here.