DFA: Filipino workers can now return to Hong Kong, Macau despite coronavirus travel ban
Robie de Guzman • February 18, 2020 • 420
MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos working in Macau and Hong Kong can now return to their jobs despite the travel ban being implemented on China and its territories due to the threat of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.
In a Twitter post, DFA Undersecretary Brigido “Dodo” Dulay announced that Filipino migrants returning for work in Hong Kong and Macau have been exempted from the outbound travel ban.
However, Dulay said they will be subjected to “certain procedural formalities.”
“OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) returning for work in Hong Kong and Macau have been exempted from the outbound travel ban by the IATF-EID (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases) subject to certain procedural formalities,” he said.
Hundreds of Filipino workers bound for Hong Kong and Macau were left stranded in the Philippines after President Rodrigo Duterte on February 2 imposed travel restrictions on China and its territories hit with the deadly virus.
Stranded migrant workers were offered P10,000 cash assistance, and provided with dormitories and food while they await the lifting of the travel ban.
Groups of OFWs have earlier appealed to the government to let them return to China and its territories in fear of losing their jobs.
MANILA, Philippines – Over 3,000 repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have already served the mandatory 14-day facility-based quarantine after coming home from countries affected by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
But according to Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), many of them have not reached their respective hometowns yet as local government units (LGUs) are still refusing them entry in fear of COVID-19 contagion.
“Sana tanggapin naman po sila ng kanilang mga LGUs dahil nakumpleto na nila yung kanilang 14-day quarantine (We hope the LGUs would accept them as they have already completed the 14-day quarantine),” said OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac.
“Asymptomatic po sila. Wala silang sakit, [They are asymptomatic. They are not sick],” he added.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) also urged the LGUs to let the OFWs get reunited with their families.
“Paalala lamang po sa ating mga LGUs huwag harangin ang ating mga OFW na nabigyan na po ng DOH o ibang LGU ng sertipikasyon na natapos na nila ang kanilang 14-day facility-based quarantine o ang mga OFW na required mag-mandatory 14-day home quarantine,” stressed IATF-EID Spokesperson Karlo Nograles.
(We would like to remind our LGUs not to block the entry of OFWs who were given certification by DOH and other LGUs that they have finished the 14-day facility-based quarantine or those who were required mandatory 14-day home quarantine.)
Most OFWs spent their quarantine period at the Athletes Village in New Clark City in Subic, Pampanga.
Aside from the said facility, several nearby hotels also serve as temporary quarantine facilities for returning Filipinos for suspected COVID-19 cases.
OWWA said more than 10,000 Filipinos are coming home this April after several countries offered amnesty for overstaying foreigners such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Administrator Cacdac said the quarantine facilities must be cleared soon before the new batch of repatriates arrive.
“We really need to move people out of the hotel, kasi magkakaubusan sa hotels. Ganito po talaga kahalaga itong effort na ito kailangan national effort po ito (We really need to move people out of the hotel otherwise we would have scarcity of hotels. This is how important our efforts, a national effort), ” Cacdac explained.
“Kung hindi, magkakaroon po tayo ng krisis sa paninirahan dito sa Metro Manila kung hindi po maiibsan, kung hindi po makakauwi ang mga nag-graduate na sa 14-day quarantine (Otherwise, we would have accommodation crisis here in Metro Manila if we will not allow those who graduate from the 14-day quarantine to go home),” he added.
Based on the Department of Health (DOH) protocol, OFWs who exhibit symptoms of coronavirus disease must undergo facility-based quarantine while those asymptomatic must do home quarantine. MNP (with details from Joan Nano)
MANILA, Philippines – A total of 900 Filipino seafarers from various cruise ships in Miami, Florida have arrived in Manila on Thursday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
In a statement, the DFA said the Filipino sailors were repatriated from the Norwegian Dawn and Star, and MSC Armonia, Meraviglia, Seaside, and Divina Cruise ships.
The group was brought home through chartered flights facilitated by the DFA through the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Affairs.
This is the latest batch of repatriated Filipino seafarers as novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to threaten ships across the globe.
On Wednesday, 881 Filipino sailors were repatriated from other cruise ships in the United States.
“The continuing repatriation effort is in coordination with other government agencies including the DOH, DOT, DoTr, BI, BOQ, MIAA, and the local manning agencies as part of the whole-of-nation approach in helping our stranded Filipino seafarers,” the DFA said.
The department said that all repatriated seafarers will undergo mandatory quarantine as a precautionary measure before their eventual travel back to their respective homes.
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