Twenty-three repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from different parts of Negros Oriental arrived Tuesday afternoon at the city port here.
Dr. Liland Estacion, Assistant Provincial Health Officer and head of the committee on health of the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), said the OFWs will undergo quarantine for 14 days, even if they have completed the required isolation period in Manila after arriving from abroad.
They will be staying at the Blue Horizon hotel in this city that will be under tight watch by health authorities and the police, she said.
Governor Roel Degamo has asked the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to shoulder the hotel and food expenses of the OFWs while on quarantine.
The 23 arrived on board a 2GO inter-island vessel from Manila, which earlier in the day also stopped by the port of Cebu and Oroquieta to offload other OFWs.
The workers from abroad have been stranded in Metro Manila following their repatriation about a month earlier after commercial flights were suspended and several areas in the country were placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Lt. Senior Grade Donna Liza Duran Ramacho, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-Dumaguete station commander, said the 2GO vessel docked at the port shortly after 1 p.m. and it took about an hour to complete the disembarkation and other procedures.
PCG personnel helped in the disembarkation of the OFWs who were immediately loaded onto a bus of the provincial government, which ferried them to the hotel.
Estacion said the OFWs are currently being throat-swabbed and the samples will be sent immediately to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City for laboratory testing.
The OFWs were already given clearance by the OWWA and health authorities in Metro Manila to certify that they had undergone the mandatory quarantine and were fit to return home.
However, Estacion said Degamo wants to make sure that the returning OFWs are not infected with the virus once they return to their respective home towns and cities, thus they need to go through another round of quarantine.
Estacion reassured the public there will be strict measures in place at the hotel.
Police personnel will be deployed there to ensure that they will not leave the hotel premises without the approval of the authorities, she added. Their families are also discouraged from visiting them.
The OFWs who arrived are from Bayawan City, Guihulngan City, Bais City, Sibulan, Tanjay City, San Jose, Pamplona, Siaton, Valencia, and Mabinay, among other areas of Negros Oriental.
There was only one female among them, a 36-year-old from this capital city.
The Philippine Ports Authority was the lead agency in charge with the arrival of the OFWs, with teams coming from the Coast Guard, Provincial Health Office, Philippine National Police, the provincial government, Bureau of Immigration, and other concerned agencies present. (PNA)
Photo Source: Facebook/DOTrMARINAPH