Over 40,000 more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were displaced due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are set to arrive back to the Philippines.
“More than 40,000 OFWs are to be repatriated. That might even be a conservative estimate because we have yet to include in the count medium- to long-term economic effect of the pandemic,” noted Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said on Wednesday, May 6.
About 45,000 affected seafarers and 40,000 affected land-based workers have been repatriated since COVID-19 swept across the globe.
Cacdac also noted that some 7,000 OFWs remain in quarantine facilities.
“In the mass testing being conducted among OFWs, we are prioritizing those who have already completed their 14-day quarantine. Those who tested negative would be immediately sent home so we can decongest our quarantine facilities,” Cacdac noted.
“We really need to empty our quarantine facilities to accommodate those who are coming home,” Cacdac added.
Meanwhile, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) for COVID-19, pointed out that the ban on incoming flights for repatriating OFWs would be lifted by Friday, May 8.
“We will start accepting inbound passengers from abroad this coming Friday. But we will limit them to 400 to 500 (OFWs) to make it manageable,” Galvez said.
“At present, we have more or less 23,480 OFWs quarantined in Metro Manila and in nearby Batangas. And it is our recommendation that was approved by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) for us to have temporary restrictions. It is only for the inbound OFWs or incoming OFWs in our national airport. It was intended to regulate the entry of OFWs,” he added.
The Philippines on Sunday, May 3 suspended all inbound international passenger and commercial flights in and out of the country to further stop the spread of the coronavirus.