Police reassure OFWs on safe return

Published May 6, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Aaron Recuenco

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are being barred from entering their hometowns during the national health emergency will be assisted by the law enforcement arm to ensure their safety and protection from harassment or discrimination.

Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar (PNP / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO)
Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar

Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield, said they would assist the returning OFWs to the extent of escorting them back to their homes to prevent being harassed and discriminated.

“Like our medical frontliners, our OFWs do not deserve to be discriminated and unfairly treated in their own land. Our President, Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte, himself said that the sacrifices and contribution of the OFWs to our economy should not be repaid with these kinds of unfair treatment,” said Eleazar.

The JTF COVID Shield is the enforcement arm of the IATF-MEID. It is composed of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

Eleazar said there are already existing protocols being implemented by the national government on returning OFWs such as 14-day quarantine and even testing for coronavirus.

“We understand the concerns of the local government units especially on the safety of their constituents but if these protocols were already followed and the OFWs were already given a clearance to go home, there is no reason for the local officials to treat them unfairly,” said PLt.Gen. Eleazar.

He stressed that even returning OFWs themselves are aware of the risks and would not want their family be infected by the coronavirus. Hence, they exert efforts to know, understand and follow the quarantine rules.

Eleazar urged the returning OFWS to call the hotlines of the JTF COVID Shield if they feel they are being discriminated.

The hotlines are 0998-849-0013 for Smart users and 0917-538-2495 for Globe users. The JTF CoViD Shield can also be reached through its email address: [email protected]

Earlier, President Duterte lamented the discrimination being suffered by the returning OFWs as some of them were reported to have been barred in entering their hometown due to concerns that they could be coronavirus carriers.