No decision yet on shortened OFW quarantine
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will decide on the proposal of the Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to relax quarantine protocols for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said after President Duterte expressed misgivings at shortening the quarantine period. The President, however, noted that Bello has been “raising the alarm” because the longer quarantine period for returning OFWs in hotels translated to more expenses for the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa). Roque, in his briefing, said the Owwa pays P3,000 daily for the hotel accommodations of quarantined OFWs. When the quarantine period was extended to 14 days during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ, Owwa’s remaining funds worth P1.4 billion—which are also being used to cover OFWs’ transportation, meals and funeral expenses—would run out by mid-May. Roque said the Department of Budget and Management would look for additional funds for Owwa, which needed more than P9.8 billion more this year to pay just for quarantine hotel facilities only.
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