(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte gave labor and health authorities one week to facilitate the return of some 24,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are staying in various quarantine centers in Metro Manila.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the President gave the directive at around 1:30 a.m. Monday, May 25.
In a Laging Handa presser on Monday, Roque said that the President gave the directive to the Department of Labor and Employment, Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration, and the Department of Health (DOH).
“Sang-ayon po sa Presidente, binibigyan nya ng awtoridad ang lahat ng mga opisyales ng mga departamentong ito na gamitin po ang lahat ng resources ng ating gobyerno, para masigurong makauwi ngayong Linggo ang ating mga kababayan,” Roque said.
The 24,000 OFWs are just awaiting the results of their PCR swab tests.
Roque said that the President also directed the use ships and planes of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, if the commercial shipping vessels, planes and buses would not be enough to transport them.
He said that OFWs returning to their homes in Luzon would be transported via buses.
OWWA has reported that it has already started the facilitation of the return of the OFWs on Monday.
He also showed a slide of the more than 30 flights scheduled to fly home more than 3,000 OFWs.
“Unang araw pa lang po yan,” Roque noted.
He said that OFWs returning home to Visayas and Mindanao will be transported via ship and planes.
He said that the OFWs who can return to their provinces are only those who have tested negative based on their PCR [polymerase chain reaction) tests, and that the President’s directive was that test results should be available by Sunday.
-Duterte wants widened PCR testing in provinces-
Roque said that President Duterte wanted provinces to have the capacity to do PCR tests, so that in the succeeding OFW arrivals, OFWs would be quarantined and tested in their respective home provinces.
“Sabi rin po ni Presidente kinakailangan palawakin ng mga probinsya na magkaroon ng PCR tests, para s aganun po sa ssusunod na mga daratng na mga OFWs na darating, doon na lang sa kanilang probinsya ika-quarantine, at doon na rin magpapa-PCR test,” he said.
OWWA will also be issuing the necessary quarantine certificates to returning OFWs before they board their planes, ships or buses, the Palace spokesperson said.
(Eagle News Service)