DOLE agrees returning OFWs should not stay beyond 5 days in NCR

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MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Monday agreed that returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) whose homes are outside Metro Manila should not stay beyond five days in the capital region.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that upon their arrival in the country, the OFWs will immediately undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

He said the decision of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Diseases (IATF-EID) was to immediately send the OFWs to their province if they tested negative.

“We agreed in the task force that they will stay only a maximum of five days,” Bello said during the Laging Handa network briefing.

He reported that 600 OFWs displaced by Covid-19 impact arrived in the country two days ago.

“They tested negative from the PCR test so by tomorrow (Tuesday) we’ll send them off to their final destination,” Bello said.

In a separate Laging Handa briefing aired over state-run PTV4 on Monday, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has already repatriated 36,731 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as of June 7.

Arriola said of this number, 22,198 are sea-based workers while 14,533 are land-based.

Aside from this figure, Arriola said 30,000 to 35,000 more sea-based workers, mostly working in cruise ships, need to come home.

“Kina-calibrate natin yung pag uwi nila, sa land-based paiba iba sila especially now that some of the economies are opening up like Dubai. Yung iba pag nakahanap sila ng trabaho hindi na rin sila bumabalik. But definitely since cruise ship stopped operating last March, merong 30,000 to 35,000 na sea-based workers na pauwi na talaga sa bansa, (We are calibrating their repatriation. It’s different for land-based since more countries are opening up like Dubai. But since the cruise ship stopped operating last March, there are around 30,000 to 35,000 sea-based workers going home),” Arriola said. -PNA

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