Duterte urges LGUs to allow repatriated OFWs to come home

Duterte urges LGUs to allow repatriated OFWs to come home
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on May 4, 2020.
President photo / Toto Lozano

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte urged local government units to allow repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers to enter their localities and come home in this time of COVID-19 crisis.

In a public address late Monday night, the president noted that “some workers coming from the outside are not welcomed.”

He called on local executives and said: “It is your duty to help and protect your constituents. I have no quarrel that you want the contagion stopped right there, there at the doorstep.”

Duterte also said that it is “cruel” to dilly-dally on OFWs return to their homes if test results showed they are negative for COVID-19.

“We will have a problem if you resist because then as a worker of government, it falls upon my shoulders to see to it that everything is done fair,” the president added.

Peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., also chief implementer of National Action Plan vs COVID-19, said the government is organizing mega swabbing areas where OFWs can be tested.

“After they were tested negative, maybe after three or four days, they can go home already with the certification of the Bureau of Quarantine that they are COVID-19 free,” Galvez said in the same briefing.

COVID-19 test for OFWs

There are more than 4,000 seafarers currently waiting for permission to disembark and return to the homes in the 12 foreign cruise ships at the Manila Bay.

RELATED: For cruise ship crew waiting to come home, it's a bitter-'suite' life

The Philippine Coast Guard announced last week that they aim to subject the returning seafarers to a COVID-19 test, and when test yields negative result, they would be allowed to go home.

On Tuesday, the PCG announced that a total of 2,099 OFWs “in various quarantine facilities in Luzon” underwent RT-PCR testing for COVID-19.

“Rest assured that once necessary clearances are issued, the Department of Transportation will provide transportation services so they may finally go home to their families,” it added.

Incident with OFWs in Iloilo

Duterte also said he received report that Iloilo refused the entry of OFWs. “Sir, Mayor, I appeal that you follow the guidelines,” the president said in Filipino.

State-run Philippine News Agency said in a report dated April 14 that 100 OFWs returning to Iloilo were stopped from travelling as the local government expressed fear for increased risk of COVID-19 cases in the locality.

“I will operate through the Department of the Interior and Local Government because it’s either you follow or I will impose it on you. Follow in a good way or I will force you to follow,” the chief executive added in Filipino. — Kristine Joy Patag

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