Gov’t will pay OWWA’s P241-M debt to quarantine hotels

Malacañang assured that the government would pay the P241 million debt of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to some hotels that provided quarantine accommodations to returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

The Hotel Sales and Marketing Association earlier revealed that has yet to pay P241 million to some 20 hotels located in Manila, Tagaytay, and Cebu.

“Well alam niyo po sang-ayon sa OWWA, mahigit na P2.3 billion na ang binayad natin sa ibat-ibang hotel. At lahat naman po yan yung mga billings ng hotel ay binubusisi, nirereconcile, at vineverify sang-ayon po sa standard COA [Commission on Audit] procedures,” Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.

( said we already paid over P2.3 billion to different hotels. All of the billings from hotels were being evaluated, reconciled, and verified according to COA’s standards.)

“So wag po kayong magalala, may pera po tayo dyan. Meron lang po talagang mga paper work at mga validation na kinakailangang gawin bago mabayaran,” he added.

(Don’t worry, we have money for that. We’re just doing some paperwork and validation before we pay that.)

Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III has already directed to settle its debts to hotels in a week.

Gov’t will pay OWWA’s P241-M debt to quarantine hotels

Meanwhile, displaced and repatriated overseas Filipino workers () due to the pandemic will get P10,000 cash aid from the government upon their arrival in Manila.

Bello issued the order as he recognized the delays in distributing the financial aid to OFWs since the lockdown began eight months ago.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported 237,363 OFWs had been repatriated since the COVID-19 outbreak.

In October alone, DFA said 37,095 were brought home. The agency said it expected more than 107,000 to return home by year-end.

DOLE rolled out three cash assistance programs for workers in formal and informal sectors under the Bayanihan 1. One-time assistance of $200, or P10,000 would be given to OFWs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The repatriated OFW could submit documents proving job loss due to the pandemic, but Bello said the DOLE would not wait for these if it already had the OFW’s records.