'May pera tayo diyan': Palace says funds ready to settle debt to hotels hosting OFWs

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 06 2020 12:55 PM

'May pera tayo diyan': Palace says funds ready to settle debt to hotels hosting OFWs 1
Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) arrive at the Ninoy Aquino Airport on Saturday after being repatriated from Beirut, Lebanon, on a chartered flight, Sept. 29, 2020. Presidential Photo/File

MANILA — The government has funds to pay hotels that accommodated repatriated migrant workers during their isolation that was meant to ensure that they did not have COVID-19, Malacañang said Tuesday, even as it faced issues on its separate debt for coronavirus tests. 

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has paid around P2.3 billion to various hotels during the pandemic, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. 

"Lahat naman po yan yung mga billings ng hotel ay binubusisi, nagre-reconcile, at vine-verify sang-ayon po sa standard COA procedures," he said in a public briefing. 

(All the hotel billings are being checked, reconciled and verified according to standard Commission on Audit procedures.)

"So wag po kayong mag-alala, may pera po tayo diyan. Meron lang po talagang mga paper work at mga validation na kinakailangang gawin bago mabayaran," he added

(Do not worry, we have funds for that. There are just paper works and validation that need to be done before the debt could be settled.)

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The Hotel Sales and Marketing Association earlier this week said OWWA's P250-million debt had affected affected the operations of at least 20 hotels that served as COVID-19 quarantine facilities. 

The government had tallied a separate, nearly P1-billion debt to the Philippine Red Cross, that conducted about a quarter of the country's total coronavirus tests. Medical state insurer PhilHealth has settled about half this balance. 

The Philippines has Southeast Asia's second highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths after Indonesia. 

The health department on Thursday reported 1,594 novel coronavirus infections and 42 additional deaths. The agency said total confirmed cases increased to 389,725 while deaths reached 7,409. 

— With a report from Reuters