116 stranded Cebuano OFWs in Luzon appeal for chance to come home to Cebu

Having been stranded for a month, OFWs say they are out of resources to survive amid Luzon ECQ

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo - Reporter/CDN Digital | April 09,2020 - 07:16 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Over 100 Cebuano Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are now stranded in Luzon are appealing to the Cebu provincial government to let them come home.

The group of Cebuano OFWs, who are appealing to be repatriated to Cebu, consists of 116 persons based on the list of persons and contact numbers that they sent to CDN Digital on Maundy Thursday, April 12, 2020.

Jeffrie Omandam, a nurse who arrived from Belize, Central America, said he arrived in the Philippines via Clark International Airport last March 15 yet.

Omandam said that since he arrived in Clark, he tried to book flights bound for Cebu thrice but all were cancelled due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis and the subsequent enhanced community quarantine declarations both in Luzon and in Cebu province.

Omandam, 31, hails from Barangay Apas in Cebu City. He was only supposed to visit his family in Cebu City for two weeks, but because of the COVID-19 crisis, he is now stranded in Luzon for almost one month.

Last March 14, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has already ordered that no incoming domestic passengers from Manila and Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental will be granted entry in Cebu province  due to the number of COVID-19 cases in Manila. Dumaguete City, at that time, also had its first COVID-19 case.

READ: Cebu to ban entry of passengers from outside province

On March 16, incoming passengers from Clark, Legazpi City and Cagayan de Oro City were also barred from entering the province.

READ: Cebu expands quarantine protocols to all int’l arrivals

Omandam said all they were appealing to the government now was for a sweeper flight for them to take them home to Cebu.

He said that they were all willing to submit themselves to quarantine if only they would be allowed to enter the province.

CDN Digital has reached out to Governor Garcia for comments on the OFWs’ concerns but no answer was available as of press time.

“Pait gyud. Luoy gyud mi. Mag-extend pa og until [April] 30 [ang lockdown] diri sa Manila. Asa man mi ani? Magsakit na among buko-buko og kinan-anay og sardinas ani nga pwerteng parata,” he added.

(It’s so difficult here. And they are going to extend (the lockdown) here in Manila until (April) 30. Where will we go? Our backs have become painful of eating sardines that are so salty.)

Having been stranded in Luzon for almost a month, Omandam said he and the other 115 OFWs were already running short on funds to survive until the end of the ECQ in Luzon and in Cebu.

Read more: OFWs stranded at Clark Airport due to quarantine to get free food, lodging

When asked about the assistance about the 200 stranded OFWs in Clark that were given free lodging and free food by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, Clark International Airport and their other partners, Omandam said that this assistance to the OFWs were given on March 19 and these were the OFWs who arrived at the airport at that time.

Read more: Sinalo kami ng gobyerno: Stranded OFWs grateful for stay in Clark

He said that he and the other Cebuano OFWs arrived on March 15 so they were not included in that assistance.

Omandam said he was staying with his cousin in Makati City. However, most of the other OFWs, who did not have relatives in Luzon, had to rent for a place to stay.

“Ang among mga baon diri nahurot na pod kay alangan man og di mi mogasto para sa among panginahanglan dinhi,” Omandam told CDN Digital via phone.

(We are running short of funds because the money that we brought with us has already been spent because we also have to spend for our basic needs here.)

“Ang uban nagreklamo na kay nag-abang unya wa na poy resources ba kay dugay na…Kaon na lang mig kausa sa usa ka adlaw. Daghanon na lang og kausa kay lisod na man ang kinabuhi gyud,” Omandam added.

(Others have complained because they are renting rooms and their resources have all run out because of the length of the ECQ… We now only eat one time a day. We will just eat as much as we can during that meal because times are difficult.)/dbs

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TAGS: coronavirus, COVID-19, Gwendolyn Garcia, OFWs, Omandam, Philippines, stranded
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