MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved P5 billion in additional funds for the repatriation and COVID-19 quarantine of Filipino migrant workers, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration earlier said it might run out of funds for covering expenses of returning overseas Filipino workers in the middle of May.
The President approved a supplemental budget of P5.2 billion for OFW expenses, said his spokesman Harry Roque, who quoted Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
"Ito po ay pambayad doon sa mga hotels dahil nga po sa mas mahabang quarantine na niri-require natin sa mga bumabalik na OFW," Roque said in a press briefing.
(This will be used as payment for hotels because of the longer quarantine we require for returning OFWs.)
The government requires travelers entering the Philippines to stay for at least 10 days at a quarantine facility and to complete a 4-day home quarantine in their destination to prevent the spread of more contagious COVID-19 variants detected abroad.
OWWA earlier this month said about 545,000 OFWs have been repatriated due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There were about 2.2 million OFWs in 2019, government data showed. Millions of them are breadwinners and regularly send money home. Their remittances serve as lifeline to the Philippine economy.
More details to follow.
Video courtesy of PTV