Divert OFW-laden flights to Subic, Gordon urges

Published June 22, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Hannah Torregoza

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) should open up the Subic Bay International Airport and divert the flights of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) there to facilitate their immediate COVID-19 testing and they can go home to their respective provinces.

Senator Richard Gordon (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Richard Gordon
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Gordon noted that with more than 300,000 OFWs expected to arrive in the next three to four months, the government must be prepared to facilitate COVID-19 testing for these returning migrant workers.

The senator said Subic and Clark are very suitable venues for accommodating arriving OFWs because, aside from the airport, it boasts of a seaport and a quarantine facility, as well as numerous hotels that can be used to accommodate OFWs.

He also said the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), which he also chairs as CEO and President, is also ready to accommodate the returning OFWs with the newly opened PRC molecular laboratory in Subic and Clark, which has a combined capacity for running up to 4,000 tests a day.

“More than 300,000 OFWs may be coming. Now we have an airport here and a seaport,” Gordon said in a statement.

“So the others can be brought here and they will be tested here by the Coast Guard and there is also a quarantine facility and many hotels here where they can be billeted,” he pointed out.

Gordon said he is wondering why DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade is taking so long to reopen the Subic airport. He also pointed out that the ships carrying Filipino seafarers expected to arrive can dock at the Subic seaport where trained members of the PCG can go up the vessels and conduct swab tests for them.

He also said using the SBIA, which used to be the hub for the Asian operations of American multinational delivery services FedEx Corporation, for hosting and servicing OFW flights could jumpstart the resumption of its operations for international flights and reactivate its tourism industry.