Overseas Filipino workers who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) are still required to undergo quarantine upon returning to the country, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said on March 26, 2021.
Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said that under the policy of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), returning Filipino workers have to wait for the negative result of their swab test before they will be transported back to their home regions.
“We asked the IATF and their policy is clear. OFWs that have been vaccinated abroad will have to undergo the medical quarantine protocol. Upon arrival, they will be staying in a hotel quarantine facility, and upon six days, they will undergo swab testing, and upon release of results, (negative). We will transport them to their home provinces,” he said during the Laging Handa briefing.
Cacdac said there are instances of people who contract the virus despite getting vaccinated.
“They can also transmit it. That is why we have to follow the process to ensure the safety of everyone,” Cacdac added.
At the same time, he reported that there are some 7,000 OFWs that are staying in some 135 hotels.
Cacdac said after these workers get their negative results, they are “transported to home region by bus or a chartered bus if they are from Luzon or chartered plane if they are from Visayas and Mindanao.
He added that they have asked for a supplemental budget amounting to almost PHP10 billion for the program.
“Assuming that this protocol, seven to nine days in said facilities will continue, we will need PHP9.8 billion. Our assumption is at least 2,000 arrivals every day. That is 60,000 in one month and in eight months it will reach 480,000. So we really need supplemental funding of PHP9.8 billion,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cacdac also reported that so far, a total of 492,000 OFWs have been sent home to their provinces through an interagency effort with the Department of Labor and Employment, OWWA, Department of Transportation, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of National Defense, Department of Health. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)