Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant, Admiral Joel S Garcia has announced that 6,500 OFWs who underwent swab test administered by the Sub-Task Group for the Repatriation of OFWs are scheduled to receive certificates from the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and quarantine clearances from the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) after yielding negative results on the RT-PCR testing for COVID-19.
In a meeting with 62 local manning agencies at the PCG National Headquarters yesterday, 14 May 2020, Admiral Garcia sought the cooperation of said private stakeholders on the safe and secured transportation of OFWs who are cleared to go home this week.
“Naibigay na natin sa mga manning agencies yung listahan ng mga OFWs na may Red Cross certificate at quarantine clearance. Hiningi natin yung tulong nila na kausapin yung mga OFWs para makapaghanda at makakuha ng biyahe sa barko o eroplano ngayon Sabado o pagkatapos ng bagyo,” Admiral Garcia said.
Aside from Admiral Garcia, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary Artemio U. Tuazon Jr., Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Administrator, Vice Admiral Robert A Empedrad, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, and BOQ Director Roberto O. Salvador Jr. joined the meeting to explain the current challenges on the repatriation process and to discuss feasible solutions through active collaboration between the government and the private sector.
The officials also appealed for understanding as the Sub-Task Group is doing necessary measures to speed up specimen collection, swab analysis, and release of necessary certificates to OFWs who are yearning to be with their families and loved ones during this trying time.
“Iniingatan po natin na mahaluan ng COVID-19 positive ang mga taga-probinsya. There are 55 provinces na hindi under enhanced community quarantine. Ibig sabihin, halos lahat po ng nag-po-positibo, maliban sa NCR, ay nanggagaling sa abroad. Ito po yung iniingatan natin – na hindi sila mahawaan. Kaya nauunawaan rin po natin yung mga LGU kung bakit mahigpit sila sa pagtanggap sa kanilang mga constituents,” Admiral Garcia explained.
Admiral Garcia, on behalf of the Sub-Task Group for the Repatriation of OFWs, assured local manning agencies that OWWA and the DOTr will actively assist them on the release and transport of OFWs to their respective home provinces or cities.
The meeting ended with a commitment that the national government is doing its best to speed up the repatriation process without compromising the safety and security of other provinces in the country that remain free from the threat of COVID-19.
“Kung meron mang pagkukulang o diperensya sa sistema, unawain po natin. Ginagawa po ng inyong gobyerno ang lahat dahil nararamdaman namin na gusto niyo nang makasama ang inyong pamilya,” Admiral Garcia said.
Source: PCG, May 15, 2020