Cebuanos in Taguig appeal to come home

A GROUP of Cebuano nurses and caregivers who are stranded in Taguig City has called on the Cebu City government to help them come home to Cebu City.

Charmine Sarpamones, 27, a registered nurse and a resident of Brgy. Bulacao, Cebu City, in a phone interview with SunStar Cebu on May 14, 2020, said a total of 38 Cebuanos are among the 105 nurses and care workers from Visayas and Mindanao who have been stranded for almost two months in the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) training facility in Taguig City.

Sarpamones said: “If only they could allow us access to the city, maybe arrange a sweeper flight or even by boat. We know we haven’t left the dorm, anyway.”

She said they are a group of candidates from the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) for nurses and certified care workers who underwent Japanese Language training at the Tesda training facility in Taguig City.

The program, she said, was supposed to last for six months or until May 2020. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, their classes ended in March.

The program started on Nov. 4, 2019. They were able to go back to their provinces during Christmas break before their classes resumed on Jan. 5.

With the suspension of classes, she said they were told to wait for further advisory until March 13.

She said: “We still didn’t have a class on March 13. It wasn’t until March 16 in the evening when they told us we could go home because of the enhanced community quarantine.”

As of now, they are under the care of the Japan Foundation Manila which is connected with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA.)

Though their classes ended in March, their program administrator and coordinators continue to provide them with food and allowance, but this, she said, will only be up to May 19, as indicated in their contract.

She said they are worried that with the rising number of Covid-19 cases, the ECQ might continue to be extended. She said most of the stranded health care workers also have their own families to support.

She said they are willing to follow the local government unit-set guidelines for arrivals including the swab testing and the 14-day quarantine should they be allowed to return to Cebu City.

She said they have also tried to write to the POEA through their program coordinator, to ask for them to be granted exit and entry to their hometowns, similar to those arrangements for stranded overseas Filipino workers and citizens. However, they have yet to receive updates, she said.

They have also tried to coordinate with the Taguig City government to ask if they could avail themselves of the swab test. She said they were told that such action still needs coordination with the Cebu City government. (WBS)


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