MANILA – Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) arriving in the country will undergo a “redundancy check” to make sure that they have undergone medical inspections at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), an official of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Monday.
“What the BI is doing is a redundancy check, in case mayroong (there is an) OFW that would try to hide their status in order to evade health inspection, we will be conducting 100-percent passport inspection and would refer back to the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) (the) OFWs for their health assessment,” BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval, said in a Viber message.
She assured that the BI has enough personnel to attend to returning OFWs.
“Nakapag-schedule naman tayo based on advanced information ng sweeper flights, repatriation flights so hindi magiging problema ang manpower (We have a schedule based on advanced information of sweeper flights, repatriation flights so there would be no problem in terms of manpower),” she added.
Meanwhile, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said their personnel will be assisting the government in identifying OFWs to be subjected to mass rapid testing and undergo mandatory 14-day facility quarantine as required by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Prior to the conduct of rapid testing, OFWs are also required to accomplish a data form, and answer questions regarding their travel history, and existing health conditions. This information will be stored in a database.
After undergoing the required test, the Filipino workers will be brought to a designated facility for their mandatory quarantine.
Morente issued the directive after receiving reports that some of these passengers do not admit or declare that they are OFWs to avoid being quarantined.
“If they misdeclare their status during the health screening, immigration officers will still be able to detect it,” he said in a news release.
As of Sunday, some 50 special flights carrying OFWs, mostly seafarers, have already arrived since the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) took effect. The bulk of the repatriated passengers reportedly came from Italy, Spain, and the United States.
A one-stop-shop was established at NAIA Terminals 1 and 2 to assist repatriated OFWs who will undergo mandatory 14-day facility-based quarantine against Covid-19.
BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said passengers who do not have the quarantine registration form showing that they have been tested for Covid-19 symptoms by BOQ personnel after disembarking from the aircraft shall be referred back to the BOQ. (PNA)