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More migrant workers repatriated

Cacdac said the local government will monitor returned Filipinos who are under home quarantine.

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Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) on Sunday announced that there are already 817,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who have been repatriated since the country imposed quarantine protocols amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an interview, OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac said the government shouldered the expenses of OFW who undergo mandatory quarantine. He said the RT-PCR tests have been shouldered by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

“The government is responsible for the food, transport, and hotel accommodation of the returning OFW who will be subjected to quarantine… ‘The (RT-PCR) testing is courtesy of the PCG,” Cacdac said.

Fully vaccinated travelers will need to get a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours of leaving their home country under the new criteria.

They would be held in a facility-based quarantine for five days, with an RT-PCR test performed on the fifth day, with the date of arrival being the first.

They will likewise be obliged to undertake home quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival, regardless of a negative test.

Cacdac said the local government will monitor returned Filipinos who are under home quarantine.

He disclosed that only 40 percent of repatriated OFW have been affected by the pandemic.

Senatorial aspirant and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) chair Elmer Labog said that displaced OFW were saved from the danger of uncertainty of the pandemic, but they will add to the number of unemployed workers in the country.

“Good thing they were caught up in uncertainty. They were saved from danger but they will face the uncertainty of employment in the Philippines. They will be added to the large army of unemployed also because of the effect of the pandemic on our country!” Labog said.

Alliance of Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said that facilitating and expediting repatriation is not enough, and they want to know what measures the government will give to displaced OFW to have sustainable livelihoods.

“Out of the 800,000 OFW who have returned home, 40 percent of them have no sources of income and are potentially an addition to four million currently jobless Filipinos,”

“It is not enough for the government to facilitate and expedite their repatriation. The most important matter we wanted to know is what the government plans to do with them,”

“We wanted to know what were government measures to ensure they have sustainable livelihood so they can continue providing for their families,” Tanjusay said.

Center for United and Progressive Workers secretary-general Josua Mata commended the agency on its repatriation efforts and calls for a strong public program that provide jobs.

“OWWA should be congratulated for doing its job in repatriating our compatriots. But now that challenge is how to reintegrate them into society at a time when the country is facing a severe jobs crisis.”

“This once again calls for a robust public employment program that can provide guaranteed jobs,” Mata said.

Meanwhile, the labor department will conduct a hybrid job fair across all regions in the country starting Monday, 6 December as part of the agency’s 88th Founding Anniversary.

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