More than 200 OFWs stranded in Cebu sent home
OWWA, other agencies, working on sending home remaining stranded OFWs
CEBU CITY, Philippines — With the combined efforts of different agencies in Central Visayas, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) stranded in Cebu during the community quarantine were able to return to their respective provinces.
As of May 19, 2020, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in Central Visayas (OWWA) said at least 274 out of 818 OFWs stranded in different parts of Cebu have already gone home to their respective provinces.
OWWA-7 director, Mae Codilla, said in a virtual press conference that the OFWs were housed in Cebu from 14 to 21 days in quarantine while waiting for their swab results for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Those who tested negative to the virus were brought home to their respective provinces through the Malasakit route of private shipping companies, which allow the homeward return of stranded workers.
Codilla said the sending home of OFWs was made through the collaboration of various regional agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The return of the OFWs was fast-tracked by reducing the documentary requirements needed for their return to their respective homes. The OFWs still had to undergo a swab test and the quarantine, though.
MARINA and PCG provided safe passage to the OFWs through vessels. The two agencies ensured that the vessels were sanitized and safe for travel.
Codilla also thanked the private sector such as the hotels and establishments, which provides the accommodation of the stranded OFWs in Cebu and the private shipping companies who offered their ships to transport the stranded OFWs.
“The repatriation of the OFWs was a collaboration of the agencies. There are still many OFWs stranded in the region and many other in other regions that want to go home here, but we are continuously working on their return home,” said Codilla.
Codilla assured the stranded OFWs that OWWA and the rest of the agencies are working to fast-track their journey home to their provinces.
She urged them to cooperate with the repatriation procedures and pray for the pandemic to end. /bmjo
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