By Chito Chavez
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on May 26, Tuesday, warned that local chief executives (LCE) who reject the returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in their localities will be held accountable.
Describing the rejection of the OFWs as unacceptable, Año noted the LCE should welcome the OFWs as rejecting them is not in accordance with the Bayanihan Act. He assured that all of the OFWs allowed to return to their hometowns have been cleared of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a press briefing, Año vowed to run after the LGUs that discriminate and do not accept the returning OFWs. Año warned that extremely strict quarantine protocols should never be enforced as these hamper the return of the OFWS who have already been medically cleared. He emphasized that zero cases of COVID-19 in a locality is not a justified reason to reject the entry of returning OFWs.
President Duterte has reiterated that LGUs should take in the OFWs returning to their homes stressing that it is only the national government that could impose travel restrictions. Duterte explained that the national government’s power to restrict travel due to a national emergency cannot be shared with the local government.
Earlier, Año said that the LGUs wanting to impose new protocols should first ask permission from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Año reported to the President that all 24,000 OFWs in the quarantine facilities were tested negative for COVID-19.