A total of 230 stranded Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from Manila currently onboard M/V St. Leo the Great are expected to arrive at the Bacolod and Iloilo ports in the morning of April 29.
A statement released Monday by the Western Visayas Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (WV IATF) Covid-19 said the OFWs will be booked in various hotels upon their arrival instead of relying on local government units (LGUs) to provide for their quarantine facilities.
“We understand that our LGUs need ample time to prepare for their quarantine facilities to accommodate their respective OFWs. The regional task force took the initiative to look for hotels where they can temporarily stay for 14-day quarantine upon their arrival,” the statement signed by Civil Defense regional director and task force chairperson Jose Roberto Nuñez said.
In a previous Memorandum 93 marked as urgent and dated April 26, the task force instructed LGUs to prepare the quarantine facilities for returning OFWs.
Nuñez said that they were able to secure availability of enough hotel rooms to accommodate the OFWs with the help of the Department of Tourism (DOT).
“We would like to assure that our partner hotels were properly briefed on how to handle these OFWs to ensure the safety of their staff. Proper disinfection will be conducted once these OFWs completed their quarantine in these temporary quarantine facilities,” the statement added.
The OFWs have been tested negative of Covid-19 and with complete documentation prior to boarding the vessel in compliance with resolutions 12 and 13 of the regional task force that they undergo rapid coronavirus test prior to transport.
“They agreed to undergo another 14-day quarantine upon arrival despite that they completed the 14-day quarantine before their departure in Manila,” the statement further said.
Of the 230 OFWs, 52 will disembark through Bacolod port and thereafter, the remaining 178 composed of 103 OFWs from Iloilo, 35 from Aklan, 10 from Antique and 15 each from Capiz and Guimaras will proceed to Fort San Pedro in Iloilo.
At Fort San Pedro, the OFWs will be fetched by more or less 18 buses that will be provided by the DOT that will transport them to their respective hotels.
A simulation exercise was also conducted this afternoon to ensure the smooth arrival of the OFWs.
“This is just the first batch of OFWs that will be arriving in the region and more are coming,” Nuñez said, as he assured the continuous effort of the task force for the successful repatriation of the OFWs. (PNA)