MANILA —“Ang gastos natin ay umabot na ng Php 400-milyon. We are spending between Php 60,000-Php 70,000 a week for keeping our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in quarantine,” said Usec. Hans Leo Cacdac, administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), during a live interview, Monday morning.
He said their agency has been handling about 8,500 returning OFWs in the OWWA facilities in Metro Manila since the start of the lockdown. About 7,500 of them are set to be released while the 1,000 are new ones who will undergo additional quarantine and confirmatory test through swabbing as required under the new guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on April 27 for returning OFW.
Usec. Cacdac also clarified that the reported two escapees from the quarantine facilities of the Philippine Coast Guard have been accounted for. “Actually hindi talaga tumakas sila. They are there, nagkataon lang na hindi magkatugma ang pangalan sa dami ng listahan. Mangyayari yan na tinawag natin na margin of error na minsan hindi makita ang pangalan kung ipinagtagpi-tagpi dahil sa maling pagsulat ng pangalan, example ang Maria may ‘h’ sa huli,” Cacdac said.
The OWWA administrator was referring to the reported OFWs who escaped because they had overstayed in the quarantine facilities. He also confirmed that the two are tested positive of Covid-19 and are now under medication. “May isa pang nagtangkang magpakamatay at napuntahan na ng psychologist upang matulongan siya,” he continued.
Usec. Cacdac admitted they are overwhelmed by the volume of returning OFWs to take care for. “Na-overwhelm talaga kami sa laki ng volume ng dumarating na ngayong lang nangyayari,” he said. OWWA is expecting another 20,000 returning OFWs in the coming week who will undergo the same quarantine procedure. He also said that OWWA is coordinating with the Department of Transportation to bring home the OFWs as soon as possible.
He pleaded to the OFWs in their facilities to have more patient because the government is doing its best for them to return home. “Ang swabbing result lang talaga ang problema kaya habaan muna ang pasyensa at ngayong linggo ay baka maari na kayong makauwi. Sama-sama tayong harapin ang problemang ito,” he said.