Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to immediately implement its action plan to bring home to their respective hometowns thousands of OFW who have been stranded in various quarantine facilities in Metro Manila.
As more overseas Filipino workers (OFW) return home amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, DoLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that his department is already on top of the situation, ready to send off more than 24,000 OFW to their respective provinces after testing negative for the virus.
Previously, President Rodrigo Duterte has issued a one-week deadline for agencies, such as DoLE, Department of Health (DoH) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to let more than 24,000 OFWs stranded in quarantine facilities go home to their provinces after fulfilling the mandatory fourteen-day quarantine period and going through other health protocols.
The senator said that he is pleased to know that local government units have been informed regarding the proper acceptance of returning OFW who have tested negative and completed the mandatory fourteen-day quarantine period.
As the proponent of Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program, Go said that this initiative mirrors the immediate phase of the BP2 program which prioritizes Filipinos affected by the COVID-19 pandemic so that they can return to their home provinces, adding that the government must immediately help stranded individuals in Metro Manila and other urban centers to safeguard their well-being.
Other component initiatives, such as Hatid Estudyante Para Makabalik sa Probinsya of the Department of Transportation and Seafarers Uwi Pamilya programs of the Maritime Industry Authority have also assisted stranded Filipinos during the health crisis.
Bello, meantime, said that they will be sending eight thousand OFWs per day to their homes starting Monday, adding that the Philippine Coast Guard and OWWA will fetch them at their quarantine hotels where they will be brought either to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal II or Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange to embark to their respective final destinations.
Bello revealed that they have already made arrangements with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other local executives to ensure that local government units will receive the returning OFW.