MANILA – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said a total of 26,590 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were stuck in quarantine centers following their repatriation were allowed to return to their respective hometowns.
“Iyon pong utos ninyong magpauwi tayo ng mga 24,000 OFWs na nasa Manila ay natupad po. Saka nalampasan pa po natin ‘yung bilang na ‘yon. Ang ating napauwi ay 26,590 (Your order to send home 24,000 OFWs who were in Manila has been met. We even exceeded that figure as we were able to send home 26,590 [OFWs]),” Lorenzana said in his report to President Rodrigo Duterte during the televised meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Thursday night.
The President earlier gave labor officials one week to expedite the return of these OFWs to their hometowns.
He issued the directive after receiving word on the plight of OFWs who were stuck in Manila as they awaited the results of their coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) tests.
Lorenzana, also chair of the National Action Plan Against Covid-19, added that on Thursday alone, a total of 3,597 OFWs were able to go home.
“Ngayong araw na ito (Thursday), umalis na, umuwi na ‘yung 3,597. Mayroon pang natitirang 3,972 na puwede na makakauwi nitong linggong ito (Today, 3,597 OFWs already left for their hometowns. A total of 3,972 OFWs could return home within this week),” he added.
Lorenzana said some problems were encountered in the processing of the return of the OFWs but these were resolved through constant coordination with concerned agencies.
“Mr. President, ‘yung ating mga sistema ay naayos na natin. Medyo nagkabuhol-buhol lang noong una dahil marami tayong mga nasalubong na problema. Pero naayos na po natin ito dahil pinag-isa-isa natin. Nakipag-ugnayan kami sa DOTr, sa DILG, at saka sa DOLE dahil lahat po ng mga ahensya na ‘yan ay may pakialam sa OFWs (Mr. President, our systems have been fixed. We had difficulties at first because we encountered a lot of problems. But we were able to fix these, one by one, by coordinating with the departments of transportation, interior, and labor, which are concerned with OFWs),” he said. (PNA)