Iloilo City scrambles to find isolation sites for repatriated OFWs

Published August 23, 2020, 12:20 PM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY – The local government here has been scrambling to find isolation sites for hundreds of repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who have been arriving unannounced in Iloilo since Saturday.

Hundreds of repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) wait at the Freedom Grandstand Sunday as they wait be transferred to isolation facilities in Iloilo City for the mandatory 14-day quarantine. (Photo courtesy of Ian Paul Cordero/Panay News)
Hundreds of repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) wait at the Freedom Grandstand Sunday as they wait be transferred to isolation facilities in Iloilo City for the mandatory 14-day quarantine. (Photo courtesy of Ian Paul Cordero/Panay News via Tara Yap)

“We cannot allow our OFWs to suffer while we watch if these flights were never coordinated,” said Mayor Jerry Treñas in a statement Sunday, August 23.

Local officials were taken aback since Saturday, August 23, when more than 156 OFWs arrived via a sweeper flight from Manila that was coordinated by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

Treñas initially stood firm that he will not allow the entry of the repatriated OFWs, and expressed displeasure at OWWA for not coordinating with the city government.

Treñas explained the national government has reverted the city back to general community quarantine (GCQ) status since August 16 when there was a sudden surge of locally transmitted coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

But the mayor later had a change of heart when the sweeper flight arrived Saturday.  The OFWs were taken to a district plaza as the city government tried to look for hotels and other facilities where the OFWs can undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Another batch of OFWs arrived Sunday morning, and the city government found itself looking for facilities where they can stay anew.

“We will continue to coordinate with OWWA and monitor the situation,” Treñas added.

Aside from OFWs, hundreds of repatriated local stranded individuals (LSIs) also arrived in the city this weekend.

 
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