By Genalyn Kabiling
Hotels and other similar facilities may now accommodate distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, a Palace official announced Sunday.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the inter-agency task force has allowed the accommodation of OFWs in hotels based on an amended resolution. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has been directed to issue the proper certification to assist the OFWs on temporary lodging arrangements.
“Paragraph B (3) of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease Resolution No. 13 s. 2020 is hereby amended to include the accommodation of distressed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), to wit: d. Distressed OFWs, subject to guidelines issued by the Overseas Welfare Workers Administration (OWWA) in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Health (DOH),” Nograles said over state-run People’s Television network Sunday, reading the resolution issued by the task force.
“For this purpose, OWWA is hereby authorized to issue the certifications it may deem appropriate to the concerned OFWs. Ibig sabihin nito ang mga distressed OFWs puwede ma-accommodate sa hotels or similar establishments (It means distressed OFWs may be accommodated in hotels or similar establishments),” he said.
The government earlier disallowed hotels or similar establishments to operate during the quarantine period except for certain guests. The previous exemptions included guests who have existing booking accommodations for foreigners as of March 17; guests who have existing long-term leases; and employees from establishments exempted from the quarantine regulations.
The latest OFW assistance came following President Duterte’s declaration of an enhanced community quarantine in Luzon over the spread of the coronavirus disease.
The month-long quarantine includes mandatory home quarantine, suspension fo public transport, work from home arrangements in most companies, travel restrictions, ban on large gatherings, class suspension. The initial implementation of the lockdown has been marred by confusion and chaos as many workers, including health workers, had difficulty catching rides.
President Duterte recently declared that the government is duty-bound to bring home Filipinos affected by travel restrictions imposed by some countries due to the coronavirus threat. He said a naval ship could even be deployed to ferry the Filipinos back to the country.
“You do not have to be worried about a Filipino in your country. We are ready to extract Filipinos wherever they are when needed to come home,” he said early this month.