DOT secures over 11,500 hotel rooms for returning OFWs' quarantine
This file photo shows a hotel room.
Pixabay/David Lee

DOT secures over 11,500 hotel rooms for returning OFWs' quarantine

(Philstar.com) - April 9, 2020 - 8:54am

MANILA, Philippines— The Department of Tourism said it has secured at least 209 hotels or a total of 11,549 rooms for the accommodation of homebound overseas Filipino workers who will undergo a 14-day quarantine once they arrive in the country.

The number of rooms was accounted as of April 7, according to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

Puyat said that at least 160 of the hotels are located in Metro Manila and have accommodated some 5,289 OFWs who arrived in recent days.

More hotels are located outside Metro Manila in regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 7, 8, and 11, to cater to OFWs who may be checked in near their home destinations.

The DOT added that additional hotel rooms may be reserved as needed for more returning OFWs.

According to the DOT, the OFWs are confined to their assigned single-occupancy, fully-furnished rooms, complete with sanitation and hygiene kits until the day of their discharge, as cleared by authorized Department of Health's Bureau of Quarantine personnel.

“The costs of the accommodation may be shouldered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), other national government agencies, the OFWs’ recruiting agencies, or the OFWs themselves, as may be applicable,” the DOT added.

Puyat said that the tourism department “welcomes the opportunity to serve in the frontline by welcoming home the OFWs, the nation’s modern-day heroes, in their own special way.”

“The overwhelming show of support of the hotel sector to our government’s call to make their rooms available to OFWs should somehow ease their anxiety, having to wait for another two weeks till they eventually reunite with their families,” the tourism chief said.

“Meanwhile, we can expect more rooms as the DOT continues to encourage our private partners to extend the world-renowned Filipino hospitality to our kababayans,” she added.

The arrangement of the returning OFWs' accommodations is a joint initiative of the DOT with the Department of Health and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

It is also in coordination with the Department of Labor, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 crisis, headed by the DOH, as provided for by Republic Act 11469 or Bayanihan to Heal as One Act of 2020.

Aside from the hotel rooms for OFWs, the DOT said that thousands of Business Process Outsourcing employees are currently billeted at some 13,287 hotel rooms in 75 hotels located in the National Capital Region. The costs are shouldered by the BPOs.

The Administrative order 2020-001B issued by Puyat states that BPO employees fall under the category of “other guests” and may be accommodated in double occupancy rooms.

Last month, local officials of the cities of Manila, Pasig, Makati and Baguio also converted some hotels into quarantine facilities.

The government likewise converted the Philippine International Convention Center, World Trade Center, Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and the Philippine Arena into quarantine facilities for COVID-19 patients amid the surge of patients in the country.

As of Wednesday, the country recorded a total of 3,870 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 182 deaths and 96 recoveries. —Rosette Adel

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