THE Department of Labor and Employment yesterday announced that all overseas Filipino workers in countries hit by the new strain of the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 can return to the country to spend the holidays with their families.
Labor Secretary Silvestro H. Bello III said his announcement is based on President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to exempt migrant workers from a government ban on travelers from the United Kingdom and 20 other countries with cases of the new COVID-19 strain from entering the Philippines.
Bello said the Inter-agency Task Force against Covid 19 has recommended a total ban on travellers from the 21 affected countries but Duterte gave special consideration to OFWs who contributed P1.6 trillion to the national economy.
“The President recognized the fact that our OFWs are the modern-day heroes of the country who worked abroad at great expense to provide their families and the nation a better future. Malaki ang sakripisyo nila at ang kontribusyon sa ating ekonomiya kaya dapat lang na bigyan natin sila ng konsiderasyon kung gusto nilang umuwi,” he explained.
However, returning OFWs who are exempted from the restriction must undergo 14 days of quarantine in government facilities upon their arrival,” the DOLE chief said.
“Even if they had swab test and found to be negative from the virus, they are still required to be quarantined for 14 days,” he said.
Bello said the quarantime is also applicable to OFWs who already took shots of the new anti-COVID-19 vaccines.
Some 60,000 to 100,000 OFWs from UK, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Israel, Netherlands, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, South Africa, Canada, and Spain which recorded cases of the new COVID-19 strain are expected to come home to spend the rest of the holidays with their families.