THE City Government of Bacolod has requested the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) for an expeditious release of payments to the hotel owners and for a moratorium for at least two weeks on the return of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the city.
In its letter dated August 3 and addressed to Owwa Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, Mayor Evelio Leonardia said that while the hotel owners are cooperative in terms of providing the OFWs with temporary home and daily sustenance, they have articulated too their worries regarding Owwa’s unpaid bills amounting to millions which might constrain them to cease operation for lack of money to pay their electric and water bills, their workers and their suppliers of food.
He said the uncontrolled number and indiscriminate frequency of OFWs returning to the city will possibly exceed the available hotel facilities without warning and injudiciously exhaust the local workers. Should that happen, the safety of the whole city will be exposed to incalculable jeopardy.
“To prevent what we fear, we are earnestly requesting for an expeditious release of payments to our hotel owners and for a moratorium of at least two weeks on the return of our OFWs to our city. This will provide enough breathing space for everyone and for everything involve in this arduous but noble endeavor,” he added.
About 21 hotels and inns in Bacolod City were used as quarantine facilities for repatriated OFWs and their accommodations will be paid by Owwa.
Owwa earlier approved the request of the City Government of Bacolod for a one-week moratorium on the return of OFWs, which it started on August 3, and to settle their unpaid bills to various hotels and inns in the city amounting to P17.5 million.
Congressman Greg Gasataya earlier said that Cacdac assured him that they will settle their unpaid bills not only in Bacolod City but also in Negros Occidental amounting to P25 million.
"Initially, they already paid about P10 million to various hotels and inns in Bacolod and Negros Occidental but, they still have a balance of P25 million. They assured us that they will settle it within this week," he said.