MANILA - The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is asked Congress for an additional budget of nearly P10 billion to cover costs of returning Filipino migrant workers, an official said Thursday.
The rise in costs of the agency is due to the longer stay of returning overseas Filipino workers in quarantine facilities, according to OWWA administrator Hans Cacdac.
OFWs now stay in quarantine hotels between 7 to 9 days from 1-3 days previously as they await swab test results, Cacdac said.
The Department of Health had recommended that travelers from abroad be tested after their 6th day of quarantine following the detection of new variants of COVID-19.
"We are good until the midyear point, May to June. Ito naman ay preemptive measure, hindi naman kami sasaklolo nang too late na," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(This is just a preventive measure, we don't want to seek help when it's too late.)
"We are sounding the alarm signal early, assuming patuloy pa yung normal flow ng pagdating ng (OFWs), around 2,000 to 3,000 a day."
(We are sounding the alarm signal early, assuming the normal flow of OFW arrivals at 2,000 to 3,000 a day.)
Some 10,000 returning OFWs are staying in 140 quarantine hotels, Cacdac said.
Government pays a maximum of P3,000 to quarantine facilities even if it's a 5-star hotel, he added.
"Papalo na po this year sa P3.5 billion ang hotel cost natin. In the last few weeks, meron tayong na payout na P700 million so ongoing po ang ating pag-honor ng ating payables," he said.
(This year, our hotel cost is nearing P3.5 billion. In the last few weeks, we've paid out P700 million, so we continue to honor our payables.)