President Duterte has approved the additional P5-billion allocation for the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), half of the amount requested by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the announcement more than two months after OWWA requested an additional P9.8 billion in funding to cover expenses for returning OFWs.
In his press briefing on Thursday, Roque said the additional allocation was intended to pay for facilities used to quarantine OFWs amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Ito po yung pambayad sa mga hotel na alam natin lumolobo dahil mas matagal na ang quarantine period na nire-require natin (This will be used to pay the hotels. We know the amount ballooned because we now require a longer quarantine period),” he said.
The Palace official said that measures will be taken to address the situation after acknowledging that the additional funds were only half of what OWWA originally requested.
Titignan po natin kung ano ang mangyayari (Let’s see what will happen). There may have to further supplemental budget or there may have to be amendments to our existing protocols,” Roque said.
“But hindi po nakuha ng OWWA yung kabuuang budget na kinakailangan niya to maintain the status quo (But OWWA was not able to get the entire budget it needed to maintain the status quo),” he added.
Currently, returning overseas Filipinos are required to undergo strict quarantine in a facility for 10 days and another four days of quarantine at home or their destination.