By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard
The UniTeam tandem of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio urged the government to ensure the safety of up to 100,000 overseas Filipino workers against COVID-19 who are expected to return home this Christmas.
“It’s a Filipino tradition that every Christmas and New Year, the Filipino family comes together, especially the OFWs who have a return schedule every Christmas to be with the family. We need to make sure that they are safe from COVID-19 when they return to the country,” the tandem said in a statement.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said they are expecting an influx of 80,000 to 100,000 OFWs to celebrate the Yuletide season this month.
The tandem said they support the government’s decision to continue providing the free use of quarantine facilities for returning OFWs to reduce their expenses.
They also urged the government to intensify its strict implementation of health protocols, especially now that there is a threat of Omicron, the new variant of Covid-19.
“We need to make sure that OFWs are safe so that their families will also be safe. Let’s have them celebrate safely with their families,” they said.
OWWA will shoulder the seven-day quarantine of returning OFWs.
They will be subjected to a swab test on the fifth day, and if a negative result is released, they will be allowed to go home. The quarantine rules also depend on the local government unit or province of the returning OFW.
Currently, there are 178 government-run quarantine facilities for use by OFWs returning to the country.
“Let’s expect more people to go home now, especially those who did not go home last Christmas due to the stricter health protocol. So this is really what we have to prepare for,” the tandem said.