âCebu lacks quarantine hotels for OFWs, ROFsâ
This file photo shows a hotel room.
Pixabay/David Lee

‘Cebu lacks quarantine hotels for OFWs, ROFs’

Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - June 11, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Cebu province lacks hotels to serve as quarantine facilities for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs), according to the Department of Health (DOH) regional office.

In an interview with “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News/TV5 on Wednesday night, DOH-Central Visayas spokesperson Mary Jean Loreche said it was among the considerations in the decision to test OFWs and ROFs for COVID-19 upon arrival at the Cebu-Mactan International Airport.

“Every day when you have a flight that will contain 300 passengers, it will require 300 hotel rooms. Right now wala tayo nyan,” she said, adding that hotel staff do not have the capacity to monitor all those quarantined on a regular basis.

Loreche said they also factored the welfare of OFWs and ROFS who want to be reunited with their families.

At a press briefing in Cebu, Loreche said it is “unfair” for OFWs and ROFs to be quarantined in hotels for 10 days when they can be sent home after they test negative for COVID-19.

She said returning Filipinos from abroad and COVID variants of concern should not be blamed for the surge in cases, which was due to community transmission.

“We know variants happen when there is transmission like what happened from January to March... Variants will always be here, every now and then. It is the nature of the virus,” Loreche said.

Malacañang has extended the diversion to Manila of Cebu-bound international fights until June 12, stressing the need to ensure that travel and testing protocols approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) will be ”seamlessly implemented.”

Loreche maintained that Cebu remains compliant with IATF guidelines.

”Results of the tests done upon arrival and on the seventh day were almost similar,“ she said.

Sen. Joel Villanueva said he supports the quarantine protocol in Cebu as it gives OFWs more time with their families.

Since the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration shoulders the quarantine expenses of OFWs, Villanueva said the government also saves money.

Sen. Richard Gordon said longer quarantine is ”financially and psychologically burdensome” to OFWs.

However, he said swab upon arrival is not recommended by health experts. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Caecent No-ot Magsumbol/The Freeman

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