President Duterte on Wednesday, May 26, said he was heartbroken for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who have to come back to the Philippines because they lost their jobs abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chief Executive urged them to come home if needed because the government will look into what it can do for them while they find their footing here.
“Masakit sa akin ‘yong mga Pilipino na mag-uwi dahil nga sa pandemic. Masakit sa akin na mawalaan sila ng trabaho at medyo ubos ang pera (It’s painful for me to see Filipinos coming home because of the pandemic. It’s painful for me to see them lose their jobs and money), for long wait to come home,” he said during a pre-recorded address to the nation aired late Wednesday night.
“So kung sino talaga ‘yung mga Pilipino na gustong umuwi (So, those Filipinos who really want to go home), we will do everything to expedite the return to the country which is the Philippines,” Duterte added.
The President expressed gratitude to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who, he stressed, must make sure returning OFWs are placed in quarantine facilities such as a hotel then ensure that “they wait for a certain period to be transported back to their room.”
“Mahal ko kayo. Kung hindi ka mahal sa kanila (I love you all. If you are not loved by there), then I love you all and come back to our country and mag-ano tayo kung anong magawa natin para sa inyo (let’s see what we can do for you),” he added.
In February, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that almost 450,000 OFWs have returned home because of the pandemic. They find themselves without jobs here while others try to apply for overseas employment again.
Returning OFWs are required to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel and another four days at home.
The government is also planning a “green lane” for vaccinated OFWs to bring down the number of required days to quarantine to seven.