By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY—The first batch of repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) arrived here at dawn Tuesday, April 28.
Passenger vessel St. Michael the Archangel of 2Go, carrying 328 repatriated OFWs, docked at Pier 6 past 1 a.m.
The vessel, which left Manila at 2 a.m. last Monday, dropped off 267 seafarers at Pier 6.
Policemen and health officials escorted 220 seafarers from Metro Cebu to separate quarantine facilities where they will be staying for 14 days as part of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols.
The remaining 47 seafarers boarded a separate vessel bound for Bohol.
MV Lite Ferry 26 carrying the 47 Boholano seafarers arrived in Tagbilaran City, Bohol around 5 a.m. yesterday, said Lt. Jr. Grade Erick Salcedo, information officer of the Philippine Coast Guard-Central Visayas (PCG 7).
From Cebu City, the 2Go vessel proceeded to Dumaguete City to drop off 24 seafarers. The vessel also ferried 22 seafarers from Zamboanga, nine from Iligan City and six from Ozamiz City.
The seafarers were displaced by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19) pandemic and were stranded in Manila due to the implementation of the ECQ, said Marlou Salazar, regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD-7) and Co-Chairperson of the The Inter-Agency Task Group on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases-Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council-7.
The group that arrived yesterday is the first of three batches of repatriated OFWs who will return to Central Visayas.
The repatriated OFWs went through the screening process such as thermal scanning, physical exam, and download of the WeTrace app, among others, said Dr. Shelbay Blanco, Medical Officer III of Department of Health-7.
The OFWs have already completed the mandatory quarantine period in Manila but they still needed to undergo the 14-day quarantine period upon arrival as required by local ordinances.