The current health crisis has greatly affected everyone, most especially Filipinos who were working abroad when the pandemic hit. Many of our kababayans have lost their jobs, and some had to endure tremendous hardships — such as picking garbage and food scraps — just to survive.
This is exactly what Allan Estanda, an OFW in Saudi Arabia, had experienced, together with his co-workers. Fortunately, many kindhearted souls extended help, and the Philippine government was able to provide some much-needed aid, as well. Let’s get to know more about his story!
PH Gov’t Aids OFW who Scavenged Just to Survive
Last June 2020, Filipino broadcaster Erwin Tulfo featured a story about OFWs whose lives had been greatly affected by the outbreak. Without a job and without any money, our kababayans – who were based in Saudi Arabia — had to pick garbage and beg for scraps just to survive.
Every day, Allan Estanda and his co-workers would go from store to store, begging for vegetable scraps, just so they would have something to eat. Earlier, in April, they received donations from the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO). However, their food had already run out, and they just wanted to go home to their families in the Philippines.
With help from Tulfo and his team, Allan’s and his co-workers’ predicament was communicated to the relevant authorities. Here is the full video of Allan’s interview, as featured on Erwin Tulfo’s YouTube Channel:
Fast forward to today. Allan is now back in the Philippines with his family, in his hometown of Majayjay, Laguna. He is also the recipient of a livelihood program offered by the government.
“Dalawang kababayan nating nakaranas mawalan ng trabaho sa abroad dahil sa COVID and natulungan ng Pamahalaang Bayan ng Majayjay na maitulay sa OFW DILEEP Program,” announced Mayor Jojo Clado of Majayjay.
“Matatandaang na-feature sa Tulfo ang ating kababayan na para lang makakain ay namumulot ng basura o kalakal sa abroad. Agad tinulungan nating makauwi ni Vice Edison Reyes ang mga ito at ngayon sa pamamagitan ng ating PESO Manager Maricel Vitasa-Granada, nabigyan sila ng tig-PHP 30K Kabuhayan Package ng DOLE,” the Mayor said.
Recipients of the livelihood package include Allan Estanda from Barangay Munting Kawayan, and Cyrille Argete from Barangay Bakia in Majayjay. Mayor Clado expressed his hope that the packages would help the recipients to start over, so that they wouldn’t need to go abroad.
Below is the post featured on Mayor Clado’s Facebook page:
Notably, the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP) is implemented by the Philippine government through DOLE, along with the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC). It aims to help reduce poverty as well as “reduce the vulnerability to risks of the working poor, vulnerable, and marginalized workers.”
The program has two major components: Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged / Displaced Workers (TUPAD) or Emergency Employment Program, and the Kabuhayan or DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP).
Congratulations, Allan and other recipients of the program! We certainly hope that the livelihood package would help you and your families to start over, especially during these trying times. Kudos as well to the Philippine government, which is clearly doing its best to help our kababayans.