MANILA – An initial three chartered flights will bring home stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from the Middle East next week and early next month, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Wednesday.
“I am very happy to announce to everybody, especially to the relatives and next of kin of our OFWs that on July 26, there will be a chartered flight from Oman. This will bring in about 350 OFWs. We have another scheduled chartered flight on August 5 and August 10,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a Laging Handa presser.
He said the arrangement of chartered flights is in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
“OWWA and DOLE are already working in coordination with the DFA so that we can bring home our stranded compatriots both in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and in Oman,” Bello added.
He assured that minimum health protocols are strictly being implemented to ensure that those who will be allowed to board the flights are negative from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), amid the threat of the more transmissible Delta variant.
“Well, like I said before they can board our chartered flights, we need to make sure they are vaccinated. And aside from being vaccinated, they should be polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tested and have a negative (result). The moment they are negative, they can be accommodated here on our chartered flights,” he said.
Bello added that the OFWs will undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
“But like I said, when it comes to this, it still goes through seven-day quarantine; and after seven days, do PCR; and if negative, you can go home. I think this is the best protocol that could prevent the transmission of the delta variant into our country,” he added.
Aside from the financial assistance amounting to PHP10,000 from the government, repatriated OFWs are also entitled to other benefits from OWWA.
“They may also avail benefits coming from the National Reintegration Program of OWWA. They can avail of the cash assistance of PHP20,000 for them to start a business. If they have a child who is in college, the child is entitled to the Tabang OFW program wherein the beneficiary will be given a PHP30,000 cash assistance from the fund given by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” he added.
Oman and UAE are among countries covered by travel restrictions imposed by the Philippine government until July 31 to prevent the further spread of the Delta variant. (PNA)