Gov't allots P5-B for returning OFWs' quarantine costs: OWWA

Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2021 06:06 PM

OFWs line up for their flights at NAIA Terminal 2 in Paranaque on May 25, 2020. Czar Dancel, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration on Monday confirmed that fresh funds amounting to P5.2 billion will be infused by the national government for the quarantine expenses of returning OFWs.

According to OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, government has committed, through the Department of Budget and Management, to provide "supplemental funding" for the isolation of arriving Filipino migrant workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cacdac earlier expressed his concerns that the OWWA needed an additional P9.8 billion to cover the returning OFWs' food, transportation, and hotel accommodations for their 10-day quarantine requirements, stressing that the extended lockdown procedures last month have incurred heavier expenses.

Should the government fail, OWWA might be forced to tap its trust fund reserved for OFW programs.

OWWA is now taking care of 9,300 OFWs in 160 hotels.

"Marami na ang magche-check out sa hotel quarantine. Hopefully, mag-stablize na ang figures sa 9,000 to 9,500," said Cacdac.

(Many OFWs are checking out of hotel quarantine. Hopefully, their number will stabilize from 9,000 to 9,500.)

Now that OWWA can expect additional funding even if it is short of P4.6 billion, Cacdac said this would be good enough to last until the end of the 3rd quarter of 2021.

Cacdac is optimistic that the DBM will release the funds within this week.

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