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Govt to fast-track OFW quarantine procedures

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The government will speed up quarantine procedures for the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who will be arriving this month.

An estimated 42,000 OFWs are expected to return home after losing their jobs to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

The changes included electronic gathering of vital data before an OFW leaves the host country, Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Action Plan against Covid-19, said during a public briefing on Sunday.

The returnees would also be able to land at airports other than the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to prevent congestion in Metro Manila, he added.

A returning worker would only be quarantined for not more than five days, he said.

The processing of returning OFWs has improved after President Rodrigo Duterte bewailed the logjam in their quarantining.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año last week said all 24,000 OFWs who had arrived tested negative for Covid-19.

“Covid-19 testing reflects the person’s health status only at the time of testing. Between the time a test is conducted and the time of arrival of an OFW or anyone traveling, the possibility of infection remains,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said on Sunday in reaction to reports that some OFWs tested positive when they arrived in their home provinces.

Galvez assured the public that the personal protective equipment being procured by the government was safe to use.

“We will not compromise the standard of the PPEs because it will greatly affect the health and safety of our frontliners,” he said.

Galvez also said there were already 52 testing laboratories, including 25 in Metro Manila.




Here comes the second wave...

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19 minutes ago, Dafey said:

A returning worker would only be quarantined for not more than five days, he said.

Sounds like a plan!


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DOLE sends home 25,000 OFWs stranded in quarantine facilities


On the heels of the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to send home all repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) stranded in quarantine facilities, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Tuesday it has sent over 25,000 migrant workers to their respective provinces.

“Total nakapauwi kami as of June 1, 25,002 [OFWs],” Labor Secretary Slvestre Bello III said during a Palace briefing.

From the said figures, 10,100 were sent via air-travel, 7,900 via land-travel, and 385 by sea.

Meanwhile, 6,576 OFWs were fetched by their relatives from the hotels and quarantine facilities.

Likewise, 8,000 seafarers stranded in 26 cruise ships were also sent home.

Around 200 are still waiting for their tests results for “safe manning purposes.”



I'm all for the OFWs going home. But the whole operation has been a cluster f**k!

Some of them have been waiting in quarantine for 2 months waiting on test results then released after they have acquired the virus in quarantine. Because of this, the Eastern Viscyan's, (which only had 1 covid19 case previously), now have 19 confirmed cases from OFWs that were sent home without proper testing. Not to mention all the people they were in contact with on the way! Who was in charge of this operation...LTO?

6 in Baybay city

6 from San Isadro, Northern Samar

5 from Ormoc

1 from Pastrana Leyte

And my little town is on hard lockdown, again, so I guess I have another 3 months of reruns to look forward to.

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2 hours ago, Dafey said:



Here comes the second wave...

Already started and those initial people were not all OFWs on the plane to Ormoc, according to the Secretary, they were people trapped in Manila.  According to the news I read the other day.  Src: Google news, Inquirer etc.. I can't find the article.



process of receiving repatriates, OFWs

By: Katrina Hallare - Reporter / @KHallareINQ

INQUIRER.net / 12:28 AM May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — There is nothing wrong with accepting repatriates, locally stranded individuals, and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Ormoc City, Leyte, but the government should coordinate for the smooth process of welcoming and receiving them, city mayor and actor Richard Gomez said Thursday.

“Una, Wala pong problema sa pag tanggap sa mga repatriates, locally stranded individuals and OFWs (First there is nothing wrong in accepting repatriates, locally stranded individuals and OFWs) ,” he said in a Facebook post.

“Tama po kayo na handa kaming tumanggap ng returnees at inaasikaso namin sila sa abot ng aming makakaya, “ (You are right that we can accept returnees and we are prioritizing them to the best of our abilities.)

Previously, Gomez lamented that the individuals, who he said, had availed of the government’s Balik Probinsya program, and that they arrived without undergoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) protocols.

But Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said the people did not avail of the government program, and were just OFWs who simply wanted to go home and be with their families.

He also had an answer to Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, who, in his program “Counterpoint” on Wednesday, said that Gomez “panicked” upon receiving word that three planes full of OFWs were arriving in Leyte.

“Hindi po ako natataranta tulad po ng sinasabi ninyo (I didn’t panic, just like what you said)” Gomez answered Panelo.

“Sumusunod lang po kami sa naunang utos ng DILG mismo sa briefing na ginawa nila sa LGU last Thursday, May 21, na 3 days prior to arrival of repatriates ay dapat may coordination from their LGU of origin and notice from the national agencies para ang ito ay mapaghandaan ng maayos,” he added.

(We were just complying with the DILG’s instruction that during the  briefing with LGUs last Thursday, May 21, that three days prior to arrival of repatriates is that there should be coordination from their LGU of origin and notice from the national agencies so that this could be prepared for.)


Gomez then said that what had happened was that he received a text message from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration last May 25, informing him that three planes from Manila, with OFWs on board, were set to arrive in Palo, Leyte and Tacloban airports that same day.

He added that the Ormoc LGU was not informed how many of the repatriates would be arriving in their city.

“Kailangan namin malaman sana in advance para tama yung laki ng sasakyan na magsusundo, may mga medical team na nakahanda etc. Hindi kasi yung ofws lang ang naguuwian, may balik probinsya program din, at may mga biglang nasa border na na gusto rin pumasok — ibig sabihin kung 300 yung capacity ng quarantine area hindi po ibig sabihin all 300 are reserved for OFWs alone,” he said.

(We need to know in advance so we could know how big the car we need, if a medical team is needed. Not only OFWs will be returning, there are some “Balik Probinsya” repatriates too, and there are some at the border who want to enter too — this means if 300 is the capacity of the quarantine area, this doesn’t mean that 300 are reserved for OFWs alone.)

The mayor added that a day later, Año called him and admitted that there was a “miscommunication” that had happened.
“Wag niyo po masamain pag humihingi kami ng coordination sa inyo. Hindi po kami kalaban,” Gomez then said as he asked for coordination from the national government.

(Don’t get mad at us if we are asking for coordination. We are not the enemy.)

“On both occasions ng pagdating on mga repatriates (on the arrival of the repatriates),  I called our DILG-8 regional director to ask kung anong nangyari at bakit walang nakaka alam na merong parating (to ask what happened and how come no one knows that there are people arriving),” Gomez said.

“On both occasions he said he has no idea as well,” he added. “We ask for coordination not to give anyone a hard time but to make the process smooth for everyone.”

Gomez added that he wants the government’s Balik Probinsya program,  local stranded individuals program and OFW program to succeed, adding that LGUs are partners of the national government. 

“If this fails we fail, too,” he said.

“Hindi po kami nagmamarunong at hindi po ito contest ng pagalingan. Trabaho Lang po, (We are not pretending to know it all, and this is not a contest of who is the best. This is just work.) ” he then said.

“Kung nananatili kaming covid negative (If we remain COVID negative) it is not for personal glory, because at the core of every effort we put out there is the commitment to protect and save lives of our people. Yun lang ho yung goal (That is only the goal),” he added, referring that Ormoc City currently has no confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Edited by Soupeod
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2 hours ago, Soupeod said:

“On both occasions he said he has no idea as well,” he added. “We ask for coordination not to give anyone a hard time but to make the process smooth for everyone.”

Too late

We were just informed that we have 11 OFWs quarantined at the Mutipurpose hall in our Barangay. Nasty place to spend 2 weeks.

Apparently all the Barangays are responsible for their own OFWs.

Already heard of them passing the goodies they brought back to the wives. No contamination there! :sarcasm:

And, there are another 40,000 coming back to the Philippines

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A friend of ours was in Quarantine for 2 months and finally got to go home to Leyte . Our dilemma is my wife’s passport expires in 10 weeks . Do we sell our car and try to fly out and take the chance of a canceled flight , which seems to be happening . Our wait a few months to get it renewed and try in November when hopefully all the OFW have come home and the Quarantine mess is less crowded . 

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COVID-19 positive OFW violates quarantine


An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) from Germany who has tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) broke the mandatory 14-day quarantine and went around Aklan.

According to Bernadette Reyes' report on "24 Oras," the Provincial Health Office said that the OFW was sent home while another test result was pending.

However, the OFW went around the province despite not finishing the quarantine period.

The OFW is currently being treated at the Aklan Provincial Hospital.

Meanwhile, contact tracing is being conducted for the areas the OFW visited.




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23 minutes ago, papimafioso69 said:

A friend of ours was in Quarantine for 2 months and finally got to go home to Leyte . Our dilemma is my wife’s passport expires in 10 weeks . Do we sell our car and try to fly out and take the chance of a canceled flight , which seems to be happening . Our wait a few months to get it renewed and try in November when hopefully all the OFW have come home and the Quarantine mess is less crowded . 

Your guess is as good as anyone's but if it were me, I'd wait.

Edited by SkyMan
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DOH-8 reports new 14 cases of COVID-19 in Eastern Visayas

Published June 12, 2020, 11:53 AM

By Restituto Cayubit

PALO, Leyte – The Department of Health Regional Office 8 (DOH-8) has recorded 14 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Eastern Visayas.

DOH-8 Regional Director Dr. Minerva Molon said the new cases reported Thursday night brought the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region to 90.

Molon reported that Eastern Visayas Regional COVID-19 Testing Center, based in Tacloban City, released a total of 185 results wherein 171 were found negative of the virus, while 14 tested positive.

She said the new 14 reported positive of the were tagged as patients EV-77 to EV-90.

Molon said that, of the 14 positive results, one was from Tacloban City tagged as patient EV-77.

It was learned that patient EV-77 was a 23-year-old, a locally stranded individual (LSI) who arrived from Cebu last June 9. He has been admitted to the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center with high grade fever. He has had no contact with the barangay where he is a resident.

The 12 patients from Baybay City were labeled as patients EV-78 to EV-89. Patients EV-78 to EV-83 were LSIs who arrived in Baybay from Cebu province, while patient EV-84 was a 30-year-old male overseas Filipino worker (OFW), and patients EV-85 to 89 were LSIs who arrived from Manila.

Molon said that all confirmed cases in Baybay City were not of local transmission.

Patient EV-90 was a 23-year-old, male a seafarer, who arrived last May 31 via an AirAsia sweeper flight, and made his way to Bontoc, Southern Leyte. It was the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Southern Leyte.


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382 Filipinos in UAE to fly home on first chartered flight


Some 382 Filipinos in the UAE are set to fly home this midnight on the first chartered flight sponsored by the Philippine government, a top envoy said. 

The passengers are booked for a Cebu Pacific flight to Manila, departing from Dubai International Airport's Terminal 2 at 12.10am on Monday, June 15, according to Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes.  

"The 382 (people) will be composed of passengers from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with about 80 per cent from Dubai," Cortes said.

Many of the passengers are visit-visa-holders who have been stranded in the country, while others are expats who lost their jobs because of the pandemic.  Some pregnant women will also be on the flight. 

Back in April and May, over a hundred Filipinos were also repatriated with government-sponsored tickets for a number of special flights. In early April, the missions have helped about 415 stranded seafarers go home. 

The Philippine government has been calling on Filipinos badly hit by the pandemic to return to the country, assuring that they could facilitate repatriation.

"If you really find it difficult to live overseas, we are ready to bring you home," Sarah Lou Arriola, undersecretary for the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), said in a previous OFW Help Live session.

"This is an open invitation to overseas Filipinos, documented or not, to come home. You can return abroad later."




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Robredo says OVP has helped more than 700 locally stranded individuals go home this week

Vice President Leni Robredo on Saturday said her office has assisted more than 700 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in Metro Manila to go home to their provinces this week.

"Umabot muli sa higit 700 na locally stranded individuals (LSIs) ang ating natulungang makauwi ngayong linggo dahil sa patuloy na pakikipagtulungan ng ating Tanggapan sa iba't ibang lokal na pamahalaan," she said on Facebook.

Most of the LSIs they helped stayed for weeks in temporary shelters such as the Baclaran Church, Robredo said.

"Kabilang na rin sa daan-daang nabigyan natin ng assistance nitong mga nagdaang linggo ay ang mga kababayan nating nagbaka-sakaling makahanap ng paraang makauwi: iyong mga kilo-kilometro ang nilakad, mga wala nang mapagkunan ng pang-upa sa tinutuluyang lugar, at mga sabik nang makapiling ang kani-kanilang mga pamilyang inaalala sa gitna ng krisis na ito," she said.

On Friday, 146 LSIs were able to go home to their provinces onboard five buses from the Office of the Vice President.

These LSIs headed to Sorsogon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Masbate.

Robredo said 584 LSIs on the other hand were able to go home to Albay the other day.

The vice president said each LSI had to present a medical certificate and authorization from the local government unit of their home province.

Everyone also had to undergo temperature checking prior to boarding the buses.

The LSIs were also given hot meals and other food, Robredo said.

The vice president thanked Baclaran Church and the local government units for their assistance to bring home the LSIs.

"Lubos tayong nagpapasalamat muli sa Redemptorist Church - National Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help sa Baclaran, Parañaque at sa mga provincial governments ng Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes at Masbate sa kanilang walang sawang pakikipagtulungan sa ating Tanggapan," Robredo said.

Many individuals were stranded in Metro Manila when Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine in mid-March as part of measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. —KG, GMA News

This article Robredo says OVP has helped more than 700 locally stranded individuals go home this week was originally published in GMA News Online.




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100,000 Pinoys face repatriation

MANILA, Philippines — More than 100,000 Filipinos abroad are facing repatriation in the coming months after losing their jobs due to the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, President Duterte said in his report to Congress last Monday.

“Barring any complications, this would bring the total number of repatriates to 93,675. However, due to the continuing impact of the pandemic, the number of repatriated Filipinos could reach 100,000 or even higher in the coming months,” the President’s report said.

In the same report, he said cruise line companies have reported that 29,963 more seafarers are expected to be repatriated.

The foreign service posts of the Department of Foreign Affairs have indicated that another 17,830 land-based OFWs have signified their intent to be repatriated.

Duterte also said P 1.5 billion has been released for the first tranche of funding assistance under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program-Abot-Kamay ang Pagtulong (CAMP-AKAP) program.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) oversees the distribution of the assistance to affected workers, through the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) and the DOLE regional offices.

The government reported delays in the distribution due to varying bank regulations in countries of destination, while some overseas banks limit daily bank transactions, restricting the payouts by the POLOs to the beneficiaries.

The government also noted that lockdowns and strict curfew imposed in most Middle Eastern countries also explained some of the delays.

The President also said in his report to Congress that overseas Filipino health workers who returned to the country are covered by CAMP-AKAP. The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is processing online applications.




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DFA set to repatriate 37,000 more OFWs




MANILA, Philippines  — Over 37,000 more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) stranded abroad amidst the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are set to be repatriated in the next four weeks, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has bared.

During congressional inquiry on the repatriation of OFWs affected by COVID-19 last Friday, DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola told the House committee on public accounts that they are ready to bring home “as many OFWs as possible.”

“We are planning to bring home, if we are allowed by the CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines), 37,660 overseas workers in the next three to four weeks. The DFA stands ready to bring home as many OFWs as possible but we have to follow also the regulations because we are bound by the flight caps, the number of OFWs that can enter,” Arriola revealed.

She said that 167,626 Filipinos remain stranded in various parts of the world and are in need of assistance and repatriation.

She said that most are located in the Middle East (158,633), followed by those in the Asia-Pacific region (4,083), Africa (3,590), Europe (1,064) and the Americas (256).

At the same hearing, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III revealed that the government is set to repatriate the bodies of 301 OFWs who died in Saudi Arabia.

Bello told the House panel that the bodies will be repatriated next week.

The panel conducted the hearing to investigate problems plaguing the repatriation of our workers overseas who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The DFA official, however, clarified that the plan would still depend on whether or not the CAAP and other concerned agencies would allow them to do so.

“We understand the other agencies because the problem is, of course, we do not want them to be stranded in Metro Manila and we thank BCDA (Bases Conversion and Development Authority) that Clark is also receiving OFWs,” she explained.

Arriola said the DFA has so far repatriated over 56,000 OFWs, with 31,000 of them sea-based and 25,000 land-based.

“(Sea-based OFWs) are the ones who are stranded on crew ships and we are making sure that it is going to be very fast because the mental health issues of our seafarers are at stake,” she lamented.

Arriola told lawmakers that Saudi Arabi is the biggest challenge in the repatriation of OFWs due to the size of the country and Filipino government workers who are afflicted with the COVID-19.

“Our POLO OWWA (Philippine Overseas Labor Office – Overseas Workers Welfare Administration), with the indulgence of Bello, in Riyadh is closed down because 14 to 15 of its staff are infected with COVID and unfortunately, our consulate general in Jeddah is on lockdown because there are also infections inside the embassy,” she explained.

The DFA official also cited concerns with DFA’s budget should it proceed with the aggressive repatriation of OFWs.

“The bigger problem also, we have a very high utilization rate and if we continue repatriating aggressively, since we already have 30 to 31 percent of the remaining P1 billion funds for the assistance to nationals, by the end of August or mid-August, we would not have funds for repatriation anymore,” Arriola lamented.

Arriola added that the capacity of other government agencies has to be considered as well in repatriating OFWs.

If DFA will be given enough funding support, Arriola said that “we could ask our embassies and consulates all over the world to give relief pending repatriation.”

The committee also wanted to investigate the problems surrounding those who have already been repatriated but remain stranded inside quarantine facilities, in airports or other places before they could be allowed to go back to their respective provinces.

Bello clarified that repatriation of OFWs is not assured by funding alone as he reminded lawmakers that money is not always the solution to problems.

Bello noted that even bigger funding would not bring home displaced OFWs since there are other equally important factors like the lockdowns imposed by countries where they are working.

According to Bello, lockdown in COVID-affected nations hampers the process even if the Philippines opens its doors to migrant workers amid its own restrictions to stop the spread the coronavirus.

He added another factor to be considered is the legal impediments tied to the exit visas, loans and cases of OFWs who want to go home.

The repatriation of OFWs also becomes difficult when the workers have unsettled loans or face complaints.

During the hearing, House Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Ray Villafuerte pushed for more funds to boost government efforts to bring home the troubled migrant workers.

But Bello maintained that the best solution is “still the tight coordinated efforts of all concerned government agencies and private sector.




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5 hours ago, Dafey said:

“Our POLO OWWA (Philippine Overseas Labor Office – Overseas Workers Welfare Administration), with the indulgence of Bello, in Riyadh is closed down because 14 to 15 of its staff are infected with COVID and unfortunately, our consulate general in Jeddah is on lockdown because there are also infections inside the embassy,” she explained.

The Jeddah consulate opened back up in May, and as stated, closed back down last week, with no sign of when they will reopen. They were so overwhelmed with people coming in they went to an appointment system. Unfortunately, when you go to the website, there are no available dates for passport renewals! The wife's Filipino passport expires in July; fortunately, she has her US passport, others are not so lucky. One big mess!

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314 displaced Filipino workers in Kuwait repatriated


THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) repatriated 314 Filipino workers in Kuwait who lost their jobs due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait reaffirmed the Duterte administration’s commitment to bring home the displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Chargé d‘Affaires Mohd. Noordin Pendosina Lomondot said the embassy was ready to assist Filipinos in Kuwait “who wish to be repatriated and reunited with their loved ones back home, despite the travel restrictions both in Kuwait and in the Philippines.”

He said that the continued closure of Kuwait International Airport to commercial passenger flights, and the ongoing restrictions for arriving passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila hampered the repatriation.

The consul general said that the restrictions in both airports were part of the Philippine and Kuwaiti government’s preventive measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 in their respective countries.

“Nevertheless, we are very hopeful that more Filipinos will be able to fly out of Kuwait, as we see improvements in Kuwait’s and the Philippines’ fight against the Covid-19,” Lomondot said in a statement on Thursday.

He thanked the DFA and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) for granting a landing clearance at the NAIA for the chartered Kuwait Airways flight.

The DFA said that majority of those who joined the repatriation flight were private sector workers who either completed their employment contracts in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown or lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Their companies originally bought air tickets for the flights of their Filipino workers, but frequent flight cancellations led these OFWs to appeal for help from the embassy.

A total of 2,780 Filipinos in Kuwait have been repatriated since March 2020, the Foreign Affairs department said.

The Kuwaiti government has sent home 2,466 undocumented and distressed Filipinos from March to June 2020, as part of concerted efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 in the country.




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