By Chito Chavez
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año on Tuesday said that the returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) will only have to stay in Metro Manila or in other holding areas for a maximum of five days before being transported to their respective provinces.
In a press briefing, Año said that upon the arrival of the OFWs in their hometowns, the LGUs are obliged to accept them.
In the past, a large number of frontliners and OFWs have complained that they were victims of discrimination as most feared that they are most likely to be COVID-19 positive.
Año noted that the “main idea’’ is for the OFWs to be on home quarantine where they can stay with their families.
But, Año insisted that the OFWs will still have to practice social distancing even if they are in home quarantine.
He noted that the LGUs especially those with zero COVID-19 cases in the island provinces were given the discretion on how they will receive their OFWs while observing required health and safety protocols.
Año said that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. noted that some returning workers will have to undergo rapid antibody testing.
In cases when an individual took time to return to their provinces, they will have to stay in the isolation facilities of the receiving LGUs and barangays.
Año said that the protocols for ensuring the prompt return of the OFWs were threshed out during the June 5 meeting via “zoom’’ participated in by the IATF members, officers of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) and the presidents of the League of Cities and League of Municipalities, selected mayors, governors and barangay officials.