The Philippine Bayanihan Society Singapore (PBSS) featured the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO)-Singapore in its September 3, 2020 webinar series conducted via Zoom and broadcasted live through Facebook. Entitled “POLO Services: Transcending Time”, the webinar served as platform for Singapore-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to learn more about the programs of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) being implemented by POLO for OFWs. As of presstime, the webinar has already registered 3,400 viewers from Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia and other parts of the world.

Webinar guest speaker Labor Attaché Saul T. De Vries noted that POLO services are as important and relevant today as they were before the COVID-19 global pandemic. “DOLE and OWWA through POLO maintain their relevance to the OFW community abroad as they continue to render services needed by OFWs and as they introduce new programs required by the current time”, he further said.

The webinar highlighted the various assistance extended by POLO to OFWs adversely affected by COVID-19. This includes the provision of US$200.00 financial grant to displaced OFWs under the DOLE-Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) Program of Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III; aftercare OWWA cash assistance of US$200.00 to COVID-19 infected OFWs; SSS unemployment benefits to OFWs who were involuntarily separated from employment; and relief/care packs to stranded OFWs.

The webinar also underscored the role of POLO in the overall Philippine labor migration management system. Mr. De Vries explained that POLO is the overseas arm of DOLE in implementing policies and programs that promote and protect the welfare and interests of OFWs in the jobsite.

Asked about the prospects of OFWs amidst the global pandemic, Mr. De Vries said that affected OFWs should take the path toward acquisition of IT-related skills to enable them to seize emerging IT-based employment opportunities. He encouraged OFWs to remain confident in themselves and believe that they will withstand this unusually difficult and challenging time with the support of DOLE.