MANILA - An initial tranche of the P9.8 billion supplemental budget requested by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to cover the quarantine expenses of overseas Filipino is set to be released soon.
“Meron nang pag-uusap kung saan magbibigay ng initial tranche, magrerelease ng initilal tranche ang DBM. Hindi ko pa masabi ang tiyak na halaga but what is sure is the supplemental budget that we were requesting will be forthcoming,” said Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
(There were talks where an initial tranche will be released by the DBM. I can’t say how much but what is sure is the supplemental budget that we are requesting is forthcoming.)
In an interview on TeleRadyo on Thursday, Cacdac said DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III wrote Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado regarding the P9.8 billion supplemental budget for food, transport and accommodation for retuning OFWs for the remainder of the year following the current quarantine protocols for OFWs.
On Wednesday, the Department of Health said it would recommend that travelers who arrive in the country, including OFWs, be tested for COVID-19 on the 7th or 8th day of their quarantine.
“Ngayon, ang swab testing ay sa pang anim na araw, on 6th day na pananatili sa quarantine, so ang proposal ngayon ng DOH is 7th day swab test sila and pag negative ang resulta makakalabas sila sa ika-10 araw,” he said.
The proposal would add another day or two to the stay of OFWs in quarantine facility and to the cost to cover it. But he said nothing is final yet and that the Inter-Agency Task Force will be meeting on Thursday afternoon to discuss the proposal.
“Nag manifest kami na may kaunting karagdagan doon kasi nga yung 1 to 2 days ang extension ng stay syempre may price tag yun sa mga hotel. Pag nangyari yun meron na naman kaming posibleng ipropose na dagdag halaga pero hindi na kasing laki ng P9.8B kasi 1 or 2 days extension lang naman,” he said.
(The 1 to 2 days extension of stay has a price tag in hotels. When that happens, it is possible that we would propose additional budget but not as big as the P9.8 billion because its just 1 or 2 days extension.)
Cacdac said that there are 537,000 OFWS that have so far returned to their provinces or regions since May 2020.
Meanwhile, he stressed that returning OFWs, whether vaccinated against COVID-19 or not, have to undergo the quarantine protocol.