86 returning OFWs aboard Philippine Airlines (PAL) aircraft that landed in Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPIA) late Thursday. (Screen-grabbed from Ephraim Canoy’s video)


The 86 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who arrived in Puerto Princesa City Thursday night all tested negative from COVID-19 rapid diagnostic test (RDT).

“Initial report from Dr. Palanca, lahat ng dumating kagabi ay na-rapid test at negative lahat sila,” Richard Ligad, chief of City Information Office (CIO), said Friday.

City government officials scrambled to prepare for the plane’s arrival carrying the OFW workers after receiving a late notice from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

(Photo courtesy of Kevin Dellosa)

Lawyer Arnel Pedrosa, the city administrator, said they learned about the arrival only when he received a call from a Philippine Airlines (PAL) personnel a few hours before the plane arrived.

Pedrosa expressed initial concern at the lack of coordination on the part of the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA), pointing out that they learned about the arrival only from PAL.

“Andyan na alangan naman pabalikin natin ‘yan. Ang sini-safeguard lang natin walang mag-positive diyan sa mga ‘yan kundi matutulad tayo sa Leyte,” Pedrosa said.

The 86 passengers, 45 of whom were city residents and 41 were from different municipalities of Palawan, boarded PAL Flight 2P-4787 via Manila, which showed lack of physical distancing throughout their one-hour flight home.

“Airport personnel got the lead out and prepared all necessary resources and facility for the said arrival despite the time constraint,” said the statement from Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Puerto Princesa City.

Kevin Dellosa, a seafarer, expressed dismay on the lack of coordination citing months of idle time without due plan from the government.

“Two months hindi nakapag-formulate ng ideas or actions na gagawin. Nakakadismaya,” Dellosa said.

Upon their arrival, the OFWs were subjected to individual rapid diagnostic tests (RDT), non-contact temperature checks and other medical check-ups before they were taken to their respective quarantine facility.

The OFWs are current staying at different facilities in the city for their mandatory 14-day quarantine.

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