MANILA - Returning overseas Filipino workers not coming from the 20 territories covered by the Philippine government's existing travel ban to prevent the spread of a more contagious COVID-19 virus variant need not go through the entire 14-day quarantine period, an official said Wednesday.
Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s message was essentially to allow all OFWs to return home to their families.
Cacdac said that the 14-day quarantine is particularly for those coming from the 20 areas covered by the travel ban.
“Kung OFW kayo sa bansa labas doon sa 20 bansa, ‘di po applicable yung 14-day quarantine, which means you can leave the hotel quarantine facility as soon as you receive a negative PCR result,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(If you're an OFW coming from outside of the 20 countries, the 14-day quarantine is not applicable to you, which means you can leave the hotel quarantine facility as soon as you receive a negative PCR result.)
President Rodrigo Duterte has prohibited from entering the country from 12:01 a.m. of Dec. 30, 2020 until Jan. 15, 2021 all foreign travelers coming from, or transiting through, the following 19 territories, or who have been to these places 14 days before arrival in the Philippines, said his spokesman Harry Roque.
* The Netherlands
* Hong Kong, SAR
* South Korea
* South Africa
Duterte earlier extended also until Jan. 15 the suspension of flights from, and the prohibition of entry on all travelers coming from or transiting through the UK, where a more contagious variant of the coronavirus had been detected.
Roque said Filipino citizens from the 20 areas can enter the country, but will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine, notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR test result.
Cacdac assured OFWs that expenses for and during the 14-day quarantine period, including hotel stay and transport, as well as the swab test, will be shouldered by the government.
“Doon sa mga nabakuna sa ibang bansa, wala pa tayong IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) exemption with regard to mga nabakunahan sa ibang bansa,” Cacdac said.
(We do not have IATF exemption with regard to those inoculated in other countries.)
There are currently 2,875 OFWs on quarantine in 72 hotels, said Cacdac.
OWWA, he said, will consistently monitor their situation, especially the returning OFWs from the identified 20 countries as they go through the 14-day quarantine.
“We are just 2 days away from the new fiscal year, 2021. Once the new fiscal year comes in, we get a new budget, fresh funding of P6.2-B… for emergency repatriation, fund for food, hotel accommodation of returning OFWs,” said Cacdac.