Duterte giving concerned agencies one week to bring home stranded 24,000 OFWs - Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered concerned government agencies to send home in one week's time some 24,000 overseas Filipinos workers who have long been staying in the quarantine facilities and ships anchored at Manila Bay.
In radio interviews, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte has been authorizing the use of all government resources so that the OFWs could immediately return to their provinces.
"The President told me at around 1am that he is giving the concerned authorities only one week to send home the 24,000 OFWs staying in various hotels that are being used as quarantine facilities and ships anchored at Manila Bay," he said.
He said the repatriated OFWs would be ferried through buses, airplanes or ships.
"He (Duterte) did not ask anymore why there were delays in coming out with the results (of the tests). He just gave one week in order for all the 24,000 (OFWs) to return to their homes," Roque added.
But he clarified that those who would be allowed to go home are OFWs who tested negative for coronavirus disease.
The spokesman said that there would be officials who would be held responsible if there is failure to meet the deadline.
He said the government has to immediately lessen the number of OFWs at the quarantine facilities as thousands of OFWs are still expected to arrive in the country.
Philippine Red Cross chairman Senator Richard Gordon, in a video conference with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, said they have already tested over 35,000 OFWs and out of them, 716 were tested positive for COVID-19.
"Two to three percent are positive and the rest, negative," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS