Returning OFWs can be picked up by a relative: PNP
The chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday said Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) can now be picked up a relativeif they have authorized identifications and can answer questions of police officers manning checkpoints.
“They can now be fetched provided not the whole barangay will come… only one person is allowed and that person has a driving license and identification card,” Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa said in a radio interview.
Gamboa said he disseminated the instruction at quarantine control points that around 8,000 OFWs per day will return home.
“Checkpoints will be open as long as they have ID and authorized to drive… not necessarily (quarantine pass) as long as ID and license then they can pass through,” he said.
“We appeal to the public to not take advantage… that’s why the police on checkpoints should still strictly ask them questions and they should answer properly,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield said they are preparing for the entry of OFWs and has alerted all police commanders across the country to assist in transporting arriving OFWS in their respective points of destination.
“Our task is to ensure the safe and unhampered passage of our OFWs. We should make sure that they'll be accorded with courtesy and respect that they deserve,” said Eleazar.
He said the police assistance is in compliance with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s order to hasten the return of stranded OFWs to their homes.
Eleazar said based on the instruction of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, OFWS who were subjected to mandatory quarantine will be released from the quarantine sites of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) starting May 25 to May 27. Ella Dionisio/DMS
“As per SILG, the plan is to transport 8,000 (OFWs) who have already finished the mandatory quarantine and tested negative in their RT-PCR Test every day from May 25 to May 27,” he said.
They will be fetched from their respective quarantine sites and will immediately be transported to various transport hubs for the land, air and sea travels back to their hometowns.
Based on Año ‘s instruction, buses will be available for the OFWs who are en route Bicol, Ilocos Region and other parts of Luzon while there will be available flights to Cagayan de Oro City, Tacloban City, Bacolod City, Davao City, Cebu City, Iloilo City and Zamboanga City.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, more buses, ships and flights will be available for the stranded OFWs.
A one-stop shop of government agencies will also be set up at the airport to assist the OFWs while waiting for their flight home.
Eleazar said police commanders have been advised to facilitate the smooth travel of the returning OFWs amid possibilities that they may be barred entry in their hometowns.
“If it requires that we escort the vehicles of our returning OFWs, so be it. The instruction of our SILG and Chief, PNP is to ensure that we provide all the necessary assistance for them on their travel back home,” he said.
“For as long as the OFWs have with them copies of quarantine certificate from the Bureau of Quarantine and a proof that they are on the list of those who tested negative for COVID-19, their travel back to their homes should not be denied or delayed,” he added.
Eleazar said local police in the points of destination of the OFWs are also expected to take the lead in ironing out any glitches that may arise. Ella Dionsio/DMS