FIVE senators and a partylist representative have expressed support for Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s swab-upon-arrival policy for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).
In a statement, Sen. Joel Villanueva described Cebu’s policy as “a sensible, but science-based” way of screening travelers for coronavirus and “low-cost but highly effective.”
“It is a kind of health checkpoint that spares OFWs of the hassles of quarantine. It saves them time and money, both of which are better spent with and for their families,” Villanueva said.
The cash-strapped government saves money too, he said.
“The shorter an OFW stays in a hotel, the smaller the amount that is billed to the government,” he said.
Villanueva pointed out that full board of the 10-day quarantine of OFWs in accredited hotels is shouldered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa), which on any given day, billets 10,000 OFWs in 114 hotels.
Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Resolution 114, issued on May 6, 2021, requires all arriving travelers in the Philippines to undergo 14-day quarantine on arrival, the first 10 days to be observed in a quarantine facility, with the remainder to be completed under home quarantine in their respective local government units (LGU) of destination.
Under the IATF resolution, Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing is done only on the seventh day, with the traveler completing the 10-day facility-based quarantine even if he tests negative.