OFWs coming home in almost prepandemic numbers
Some 80,000 to 100,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are expected to come home this December, a volume close to prepandemic levels and attributed in part to the resumption of economic activities in other countries, according to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa).
The returning OFWs include those who will be here on vacation to be with their families during the holidays and those who will arrive via repatriation flights.
Owwa Administrator Hans Cacdac on Thursday said “it is no longer unusual that there will be those who will come home just for a vacation because economic life abroad has resumed.”
This was in contrast to 2020 when many of the returning OFWs were repatriated after being displaced by the pandemic. From May 2020 to July this year, the government has brought home more than 600,000 OFWs who lost their jobs.
Cacdac said there would also be Filipinos returning home via government-sponsored repatriation flights this month. There would be at least five repatriation flights from Saudi Arabia alone as Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III wanted all stranded Filipinos to be home before Dec. 25, he added.
Cacdac said they would conduct again the OFW Salubong at the airport until the New Year wherein arriving OFWs would be given gifts and cash prizes.
Owwa would also continue providing OFWs with hotel quarantine, transportation and other services, he added.
Returning OFWs, like other international travelers, will have to quarantine in a facility upon arrival regardless of their vaccination status and country of origin.
Under the latest rules of the pandemic task force, all travelers from green and yellow countries have to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from their country of origin.
Fully vaccinated individuals would have to undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test taken on the fifth day.
Even with a negative result, they would have to undergo home quarantine up to the 14th day from their date of arrival.
Individuals who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or whose vaccination status could not be independently validated would have to undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test done on the seventh day.
They would also be required to undergo home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival.
Filipinos from red list countries or jurisdictions who would be arriving via government-initiated or nongovernment repatriations, and Bayanihan Flights would have to undergo a 10-day facility-based quarantine upon arrival, with an RT-PCR test taken on the seventh day.
Partly due to resumption of economic activities abroad–OWWA
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