OFWs in isolation hotels swell to 9,300 as DOH-backed extended quarantine enforced – OWWA
MANILA, Philippines — The number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) staying in various isolation hotels has increased to 9,300 following the implementation of the extended quarantine period that was proposed by the Department of Health (DOH).
Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA) Administrator Hans Cacdac bared this Monday, noting that OFWs isolating in 160 hotels nationwide has swelled from 6,500 a “few weeks ago.” The DOH has pushed extending the quarantine period for inbound travelers to 10 days as it wanted COVID-19 tests taken either on the 7th or 8th day of their isolation.
“Nararamdaman na natin ‘yung pag-extend ng quarantine period, lalo na nung last weekend, ‘yan na ‘yung batch nung nag-take effect ‘yung 10 days,” Cacdac said in a press briefing.
(We already felt the impact of the extension of the quarantine period, especially last weekend, when the 10-day period took effect.)
Cacdac also estimated that the DOH-backed quarantine period extension has caused an increase in its expenses to around P1 billion a month.
Earlier, he said, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) only allotted P5.2 billion for OWWA’s expenses on the isolation of returning OFWs, which is less than their initial request of P9.8 billion.
“Ang tantiya namin itong additional one to two days, a little less than a 1 billion a month itong additional days na ito, estimate lang ‘yon, I can’t pin it down at exact figure at this stage,” Cacdac explained.
(We estimated that this additional one to two days costs a little less than one billion a month, which is just an estimation, I can’t pin it down at an exact figure at this stage.)
He said they hope DBM would transfer the funds by this week because the earmarked P5.2 billion will only last until the early part of the fourth quarter this year.
“Itong (This) P5.2 billion is good until maybe the early part of the 4th quarter,” he noted. “Wala pang (We have not reached) 3rd quarter, so we’re good in that sense, there will be more time to further coordinate with the DBM.”
Cacdac previously said OWWA was expecting the arrival of at least 2,000 OFWs a day and as many as 60,000 OFWs in a month. The number of OFW arrivals is estimated to reach 480,000 for the remaining eight months of the year.
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