MANILA – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) on Wednesday said it is looking to finish this week the swabbing of 7,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacadac, in a radio interview, said based on the information he received from the Philippine Coast Guard, the quarantine facility in Batangas was able to swab 2,000 OFWs on Tuesday.
“They were able to swab 2,000 yesterday. Hopefully this week we will be able to finish swabbing all of them,” he said.
The move seeks to decongest quarantine facilities for the bigger batch of returning Filipino workers.
“If they tested negative, we will facilitate their transportation to decongest the quarantine facilities,” the OWWA chief added.
Cacdac said they are expecting over 40,000 OFWs, the majority of whom are from the Middle East, to return to the country in the coming days.
“Sea-based workers are 25,000 and maybe around 20,000 for the land-based, just what I’ve said, (that is) over 40,000. That might even be a conservative estimate. We have not counted the medium up to long term,” the OWWA head said.
He also appealed for the understanding of the OFWs who have yet to undergo swabbing.
Meanwhile, the OWWA reported that over 24,539 stranded OFWs in the country have been provided aid under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) assistance program.
The latest figures revealed that a total of 9,550 were provided free transportation while 9,805 have been assisted for temporary shelter.
A total of 4,181 seafarers were given food packs and 1,003 stranded OFWs in the regions received food, accommodation, and transportation. (ia/PNA)