THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the creation of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) desks in its regional offices to provide assistance to returning migrant workers amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said this is in line with Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID)’s Resolution No. 14.
The resolution asks DILG regional offices to establish OFW Desks and designate desk officers in the regions, provinces, highly-urbanized cities and independent component cities.
He said an OFW desk officer will facilitate coordination with the local chief executive (LCE) concerned and provide the relevant information about the arriving OFWs.
Año said they must ensure that local government units (LGUs), including the BARMM Minister of Local Government, will provide all the necessary assistance to the OFWs.
“We have been receiving reports that some OFWs are being barred from entering their communities or otherwise prevented to go to their designated health facilities to undergo their mandatory 14-day quarantine,” he said.
“Miscommunication and misinformation should both be out of the question. Kaya magkakaroon ang Kagawaran ng mga OFW Desk sa Regional Offices pati ang pagtatalaga ng desk officer sa bawat rehiyon, lalawigan, at lungsod. Tutulungan natin silang makauwi sa kanilang mga kaanak pagkatapos ng required quarantine period,” he added.
The OFW desk officer shall also monitor the health status of all Filipino repatriates within their respective jurisdictions through the city or municipal health workers, barangay health workers, or members of the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs).
Año, however, maintained that before going back to their respective provinces, OFWs must undergo a 14-day quarantine in Metro Manila.
“Mahirap iyon kasi meron na tayong insidente na nalusutan tayo. Sabi ay Covid-free siya pagkatapos siya raw ay okay na at nag-quarantine na. Pagkatapos umuwi ng bahay, nakapag-infect siya. Mahirap iyong ganoon,” he said.
“Katulad noong nangyari sa Cebu, naging 200 [positive Covid-19 cases] talaga siya, mahirap iyong ganoon. Para siguraduhin natin na safe talaga, dito [Metro Manila] na lang muna sila mag-quarantine bago natin ibigay sa LGUs. Pagdating sa LGUs, kung requirement ng LGUs ay mag-quarantine pa siya, puwede na siyang ‘home quarantine,” Año added.
At least 8,000 OFWs have returned to the country. All were required to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine. (SunStar Philippines)