By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – In the rush to bring stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) home, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has failed to send the list of passengers to officials at the ports of destination.
This was disclosed by Davao City Tourism Office head Generose Tecson, who said that the absence of a passenger list has made it difficult for them to segregate Davao City residents from those who are non-residents.
“Right now, our biggest problem is that there is no passenger list provided to us. We do not know what was their system in Manila, so here in Davao when we receive them we try to do the best that we can,” she said in an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5).
Tecson, who is tasked to lead the Davao City Stranded Persons Database Center, said the absence of the passengers’ list made it impossible for the local government here to determine ahead of time who among the arriving passengers were residents and non-residents of the city.
“For Davao City residents, we already have health protocols, so we segregate them from the non-Davao City residents, and then what we do is, our residents undergo the health protocols and once they are cleared by the RDT (rapid diagnostic test) team, that’s when they get their luggage,” she said.
The residents are also made to sign the data sheets, indicating the name, seat number, address, and mobile number, for the contact tracing if ever a passenger would test positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during the 14-day mandatory quarantine period.
Tecson said that, once cleared by the team doing the health screening, the city would bring them home.
She said, however, that the other provinces within and outside Davao Region could not readily fetch their residents upon arrival at the airport.
“What is most difficult for us is the other provinces and the other regions because we understand that they cannot immediately send transportation for them right away. There are problems because it’s also painful for us to see them waiting outside their airport,” she added.
She said the local government decided to provide vehicles for the non-residents to either shuttle them back to their provinces or to the border where their city or municipal governments could meet them at the certain drop off point.
For passengers arriving in the evening, she said the OWWA-Davao was providing accommodation for non-residents where they can stay the night while waiting to be picked up by their LGUs on the following day.