As confirmed by the Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, an astounding total of 11,549 hotel rooms have been set forth as accommodations for the homebound overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who required to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon their arrival back home to the Philippines.
As for employees in the Business Processing Outsource (BPO) industry, 13,287 hotel rooms in the National Capital Region of the Philippines have been setup likewise. Based on the Administrative order 2020-001B issued by Secretary Puyat, BPO employees fall under the category of “other guests” that can be accommodated in double occupancy rooms.
Secretary Puyat, who facilitated the support and assistance of the private sector in this massive endeavor said,
“The overwhelming show of support of the hotel sector to our government’s call to make their rooms available to OFWs should somehow ease their anxiety, having to wait for another two weeks till they eventually reunite with their families. Meanwhile, we can expect more rooms as the DOT continues to encourage our private partners to extend the world-renowned Filipino hospitality to our kababayans.”
To date, Secretary Puyat noted that over 200 hotels have already participated, 160 of which are strategically located in Metro Manila—having to date accommodated about 5,289 OFWs who have arrived in recent days.
The DOT Chief explained that at least 49 of the hotels with 3,343 rooms made available are located outside of Metro Manila, including those in regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 7, 8, and 11— where OFWs can be situated near their onward home destinations. Moreover, an additional set of hotel rooms can be reserved as needed for more OFWs on their way home.
The arrangement for the accommodations of the returning Filipino workers is a joint effort with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), also in coordination with the Department of Labor (DOLE), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 crisis, headed by the DOH, as provided for by Republic Act 11469 or Bayanihan to Heal as One Act of 2020.
As may be applicable, the costs of these accommodations may be shouldered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), other national government agencies, the OFWs’ recruiting agencies, or the OFWs themselves.
During their quarantine, OFWs are confined to their assigned single-occupancy, fully-furnished rooms, complete with sanitation and hygiene kits until the day of their discharge, as cleared by authorized DOH Bureau of Quarantine personnel.
Sec. Puyat said the DOT family, particularly the assistance teams in the DOT regional offices throughout the country welcome on these critical tasks to serve on the frontline for welcoming home overseas Filipinos—truly the country’s important, vital, and modern day heroes.