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OWWA reiterates OFW virus testing free

Raymart Lolo

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Returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) do not have to pay any amount for the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests upon their arrival to the country, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) reiterated on Monday.

The statement came after some OFW stranded in the Ninoy Aquino International Airpot (NAIA) were reportedly charged hefty amounts for the immediate release of their coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests results.

“I just want to point out that the PCR swab testing for arriving OFW is free at NAIA. Don’t be conned by the offers of other private laboratories,” OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac posted on his Twitter account.

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) recently made claims that some OFW paid as much as P20,000 for their COVID-19 tests, depending on how fast they want their test results released.

To note, some non-government laboratories were allowed to enter the country’s international airports after the PRC has halted its testing service due to PhilHealth’s pending debt to the organization.

Meanwhile, Cacdac said while swab tests being conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) are taking longer than the usual as pre-processing of samples returned to the manual, the PCG will still be at the airports to conduct COVID-19 testings for free.

“When they arrive at the airport, the Coast Guard is there to do the swab test. Specimens collected by the Coast Guard will be sent to the national or local government laboratory,” said Cacdac.

“So, it’s free. The swabbing, processing of results, hotel quarantine and transport are all free for all our dear OFW,” he added.

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