The Couples for Christ, one of the world’s largest family-oriented groups, is offering help to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are displaced by the coronavirus pandemic.
The group launched on September 25 the “Tawid OFW Program” to assist repatriated migrant workers through its “Adopt an OFW Family” initiative.
The program is done in coordination with the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People of the Catholic bishops’ conference.
Jess Ferrer, CFC Migrants Program head, said the goal is to help the recipients of the program generate income and to be reintegrated with their families and communities.
“The program aims to shorten their dependency on dole-outs and to reintegrate the family into society equipped with livelihood skills,” said Ferrer.
Aside from helping address the OFW’s daily sustenance, the initiative will also require their families to join in values formation programs.
There are more than 10 million OFWs deployed all over the world. Due to the pandemic, an estimated 300,000 OFWs have lost their jobs and the figure may reach 500,000 by December.
As of today, close to 200,000 Filipino workers abroad have already been repatriated because of the health crisis.
“The untimely termination of their contract left the OFWs unprepared with little or zero savings,” said Ferrer.
Based on a survey done by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas from 2007 to 2018, 97 percent of OFW families still depend on remittances for their daily food and needs.
The study also showed that only 38 percent have the ability to set aside some savings and only six percent of OFW households have some form of investment.
“Our ‘unsung heroes’ are hurting. Now more than ever they need our help,” he said.
Scalabrini preist Resty Ogsimer, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, lauded the “good example” of CFC.
The priests encouraged everyone to replicate the effort “that conveys care, compassion, acceptance and welcome” for OFWs in distressful situations.
“Each of us can do something in whatever way possible,” he said.