Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III will ask the IATF to reduce the quarantine days of returning OFWs, especially those vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to Bello on Wednesday, OFWs do not return to the country to escape but visit the family they left behind for several years to work abroad.
OFWs are usually given a month to go on vacation, he said.
“Kung iqu-quarantine mo ‘yan ng maximum of 10 days plus yung travel ano nila, aabutin na lang kinse diyas ang kanilang bakasyon … especially ‘yung nabakunahan na ‘yun ang pinapakiusap ko,” said Bello.
“Kapag nabakunahan na, pagdating, i-swab mo na, at pagka-negative, pauwiin mo na.”
If the IATF gave fewer quarantine days to some investors who enter the country, it should be done more to OFWs because their contribution to the economy is much greater.
“Hopefully mapakinggan tayo ng IATF, ibaba nila from 10 to 5 [na araw],” said Bello.
Of the number of returning OFWs who have reached more than 580,000, less than one percent have had COVID-19.
“Doon sa amin lahat ng umuuwing OFW wala naman nagka-positive. So why do you attribute ‘yung spread ng virus sa ating OFW? Walang legal, walang moral, walang factual basis to attribute to our OFW ‘yung pagtransmit ng virus,” said Bello.
Shorter quarantines to be recommended for returning OFWs
Several senators called on the IATF to be flexible in its quarantine rules for returning Pinots and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
At the Senate session on Tuesday, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said that there are chances there should be an adjustment and should not be too strict with the rule.
Lacson cited the example of his staff who went to the US to visit the husband there, when he returned to the country, although alone at home, he was quarantined in a hotel for 6 days, which cost P10,000 per night.
He said his staff was only swab tested on the 5th day and paid P2,000 for the airport transfer.
“You can just imagine, kung ordinary employee uuwi dito, P87,000 agad tanggal sa savings. So more than the inconvenience is yung gastos … We cannot be too stiff, too stringent. May mga occasion na flexible tayo,” said Lacson.