After mandatory quarantine and if virus free, OFWs must be permitted to return to their home provinces says President Duterte

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on May 4, 2020. Photo by Toto Lozano I Presidential Photo

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte appealed to local chief executives to allow newly arrived overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to return home to their provinces upon completion of the required 14-day quarantine and are declared coronavirus-free.

President Duterte comment was in response to reports that some local government units (LGUs) refused to take in returning OFWs for fear that they might be carrying the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“I’d like to address myself to the local executives, it is your duty to help and protect your constituents. I have no quarrel na you want the contagion stopped right there, there at the doorstep. Huwag ka na lang pumasok dito because you contaminate the whole of the family in the house,” the President said in a televised public address Monday night.

“But you know Filipinos are citizens of this country. And whether we like it or not they have this constitutional right to travel — and to travel abroad and to come home after working there.”

President Duterte further vowed to assist OFWs upon their arrival in the Philippines and their eventual return to their home towns. The President added that OFWs can return home once they are cleared by the medical authorities and given certification.

President Duterte advised LGUs that refusing to accept OFWs saying, “makinig kayong local executives — the national government will insist that you accept the OFWs.”

“Magkakaroon ho tayo ng problema if you resist because then as a worker of government, it falls upon my shoulders to see to it that everything is done fair.”

Moreover, National Task Force COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. reported that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is taking care of OFWs returning from abroad. Thousands of OFWs are currently undergoing quarantine in different hotels throughout the country which were the arrangements made by OWWA and other manning companies.

The task force also organized mega swabbing areas for all the OFWs so that they could be tested and sent home, Galvez said.

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