The initial batch of returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) has arrived in Puerto Princesa Port (PPP) as the national government pushed for their repatriation.
Fifty-four individuals, 37 of whom were city residents and 17 from different municipalities, arrived on Tuesday in a pre-arranged sea travel aboard MV St. Leo the Great of the 2Go Shipping Lines.
President Rodrigo Duterte late Monday ordered to clear out the quarantine facilities in Metro Manila housing around 11,000 OFWs who were repatriated from different countries upon the spread of the global pandemic.
Winston Arzaga, chief of the Provincial Information Office (PIO), said Wednesday that the provincial government was set to receive other schedules from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
“So far, wala pang schedule pero since the President already ordered na madaliin ang pagpapauwi sa kanila, we are ready to receive them,” Arzaga said.
The returning OFWs were jubilant, after spending more than a month in quarantine facilities in Manila, after the National Capital Region (NCR) were placed in a strict enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) which subsequently suspended all sea and air travels.
“Masayang masaya kami na makakauwi na rin kami. Nagpapasalamat kami sa ginawa na paraan ng gobyerno,” said an OFW from Miami who sought anonymity.
The City and Provincial Incident Management Teams (IMT), wearing protective gear, conducted precautionary protocols including non-contact temperature checks and other medical check-ups before they were allowed to depart for their respective municipalities through arranged van transfers by the local governments.
Provincial Health Office (PHO) chief Dra. Mary Ann Navarro recently said that all OFWs will undergo quarantine either home or isolation area prepared by their respective municipal governments.
“Kapag dumating sila dito ay bawal na silang tumambay sa Puerto [Princesa City] kundi didiretso sila sa kanilang mga lugar at doon sila iqu-quarantine. Depende na sa LGU ‘yon pauuwiin nila sa mga bahay nila o doon sa isolation are mismo ng munisipyo,” Navarro said.
Mayor Lucilo Bayron, in Executive Order (EO) No. 2020-025 issued on May 14, delineated the strict protocol for returning OFWs in the city, requiring them to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine in designated facilities.
“Home quarantine is not allowed,” the order said.
Based on OWWA records in 2018, there were more than 1,000 OFWs from Palawan province.