OFWs from Metro Manila arrive at the General Santos City International Airport Wednesday. (Photo credit: Steve Rodriguez of South Cotabato ACTS Promotion Unit)
BULUAN, Maguindanao, May 28 (PIA) - The decision to impose mandatory 14-day quarantine on returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) rests upon the local chief executives, National Task Force COVID-19 Chief Implementer Sec. Carlito Galves said.
"As agreed in our conversations with local chief executives, the LCEs have the prerogative to conduct quarantine," Sec. Galvez said during the Laging Handa Network Briefing on Thursday.
This, Galvez added, takes into consideration that during their travel and movement back to their respective provinces, the ROFs may come in contact with "non-tested individuals."
"Based on the Department of Health guidelines, the protocol for those who have been tested negative (for coronavirus disease) is for strict home quarantine...but it is still the prerogative of the LGU to order forced quarantine," he said.
Earlier this week, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the DOH sent home 24,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) stuck in hotels and quarantine facilities in Metro Manila.
Using various modes of transport - air, land, and sea - OFWs were sent home at a rate of 8,000 individuals per day beginning Monday, May 25.
At the destination, these OFWs were required to present a copy of quarantine certificate issued by the Bureau of Quarantine stating that they have been tested negative for COVID-19.
Apart from the 24,000 sent home this week, at least 42,000 OFWs are also expected to return to the Philippines in June, Galvez said.
"This year, we are expecting 250,000 OFWs to return to the country because of the unfortunate contraction of the economy of the Middle East by 70 percent," he added. (DED-PIA XII)