Cotabato OFWs, seafarers remain stranded in Metro Manila

Published April 27, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Malu Cadelina Manar 

KIDAPAWAN CITY – About 200 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and seafarers from North Cotabato remained stranded in Metro Manila due to the strict quarantine measures in-place due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a local official here said.

Dr. Philbert Malaluan, manager of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19, said that the OFWs were about to leave for their work destinations abroad when President Duterte ordered the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine last March that restricted the travel of everyone.

The office of Malaluan has monitored 32 stranded OFWs and seafarers.

Of the 32, 16 were from the town of Magpet; four from Kabacan; two each from the towns of M’lang, Matalam, and Kidapawan City; and one each from the towns of Alamada, Aleosan, Tulunan, Makilala, Carmen, and Midsayap.

Malaluan said the number of stranded OFWs rose to 200 after the EOC posted on its official Facebook page urgent calls to such sector to closely coordinate with the provincial government so that help could be extended to them.

He stressed many wanted to go back home, but have no one to turn to for help.

Malaluan said the LGU was closely coordinating with the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) for the repatriation of the OFWs and seafarers to Cotabato.

Based on records, the OFWs have working visa to Singapore, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

Also, stranded OFWs in Metro Manila included those repatriated from Taiwan, Hongkong, and Singapore by the Philippine government but could not travel back home due to sea and air travel restrictions.