By Glazyl Masculino
BACOLOD CITY – The 28 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who were previously quarantined at the Graciano Lopez Jaena Elementary School here, were transferred to a tourist inn along Lacson Street on Saturday.
Their transfer came after some of the OFWs, who were repatriated from Manila last April 28, showed dismay over the accommodations given them.
Earlier, some quarantined OFWs, who were repatriated from Manila and arrived here on April 28, aired their sentiment comparing the city’s accommodation on them from other places in handling their repatriates.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia promptly addressed the issue, allowing the transfer of these OFWs to a tourist inn, following his conversation with Hans Leo Cacdac, administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), who committed that the OWWA will foot the bill for their accommodation.
The City Tourism Office assisted the OWWA-Bacolod in locating an establishment willing to house these OFWs for the remainder of their mandatory quarantine.
“I hope this settles the matter,” Leonardia said. He said the city government did not initially know that OWWA actually shouldered the expenses for the accommodation of OFWs on quarantine.
“It’s funny and ironic because the city has prepared quarantine facilities for OFWs, that’s why OWWA did not bother to shoulder their accommodation,” the mayor said. But, he thanked OWWA through Cacdac for immediately addressing their predicament.
Leonardia said the decision to transfer the OFWs was arrived at after his consultation with Councilor Renecito Novero, head of the Quarantine Centers Action Team (QCAT) and Councilor Israel Salanga, head of the Action Team for Returning OFWs (ATRO).
He said that OWWA also assured assistance to Bacolodnon OFWs who got stranded in Manila and those who have already arrived here.
Meanwhile, the City Health Office also finished taking swab specimens from all the 28 OFWs. The swab samples were already sent to the Iloilo biolab.
Also, Salanga and Novero were already presently coordinating with the OWWA, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) , Philippine Ports Authority, and the Philippine Coast Guard for subsequent arrivals of other OFWs from Manila.