MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has accomplished its ‘Hatid Probinsya’ program by sending home over 25,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to their respective hometowns.
In a statement Monday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said a total of 25,002 stranded OFWs who have completed a 14-day mandatory quarantine and have tested negative for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), have been sent back to their provinces as of Sunday.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier gave labor officials a week to send these OFWs back to their hometowns.
They have been released from quarantine facilities in the National Capital Region and nearby provinces.
Of the number, 9,595 OFWs were transported by air; 7,900 OFWs traveled by land, and 385 individuals were transported by sea.
He said 6,574 workers were fetched by their relatives from their temporary accommodations.
He added that those who have returned home include around 8,000 seafarers who were stranded in 26 cruise ships in Manila Bay.
Bello, however, said around 200 sea-based workers are still on board as they await their test results, and for safe manning purposes.
Aside from the DOLE, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and in coordination with other government agencies, Philippine recruitment agencies (PRAs) and licensed manning agencies (LMAs), provided accommodation, food and transportation assistance to the stranded OFWs. Ferdinand Patinio /PNA – northboundasia.com