Hundreds of distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sept. 26, following their repatriation from Beirut, Lebanon | PHOTO FROM PCOO

By CBCP News

Sep 29 2020

MANILA – The Couples for Christ (CFC), one of the world’s largest family-oriented groups, has found their own way to help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) displaced by the coronavirus pandemic.

The CFC launched on Sept. 25 the “Tawid OFW Program” to assist repatriated OFWs through its “Adopt an OFW Family” initiative in coordination with the bishops’ Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

Bro. Jess Ferrer, CFC Migrants Program head, said the goal is to help the recipients generate income and reintegrate them with their families and communities.

“The program aims to shorten their dependency on dole-outs and to reintegrate the family into the society equipped with livelihood skills,” Ferrer said.

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,” Ferrer said.

Based on a survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas from 2007 to 2018, 97 percent of OFW families still depend on the remittances for their daily food and needs.

The study also showed that only 38% have the ability to set aside some savings and only 6% of OFW households have some form of investment.

“Our ‘unsung heroes’ are hurting. Now more than ever they need our help,” he said.

Scalabrinian Fr. Resty Ogsimer, ECMI executive secretary, lauded the CFC for the “good example that other communities can emulate”.

As the church currently celebrates 34th National Migrants Sunday, he 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. – CBCPNews