ILOILO CITY, May 31 (PIA) - Around 1,500 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) repatriates who are from Western Visayas have arrived in the region during the period this week set by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to effect the mass transport of OFWs to their homes in the regions.
The repatriates arrived in the region May 25-27 through the Malasakit voyage involving 2GO Shipping Lines and sweeper flights. While in Manila, they have completed the mandatory quarantine period, yielded negative COVID-19 test results and have been issued authority to travel as compliances before they could go home.
The Regional Task Force COVID-19 together with its Inter-Agency Task Force here managed the arrival of the OFWs and transporting them to their respective provinces and cities through the Sub Task Unit on OFW Repatriation led by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
The biggest number of OFWs in a single trip of about 500 arrived on May 25 aboard a 2GO Malasakit voyage in the ports of the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo.
Previously, repatriated OFWs have started arriving in the region toward the end of April. By May 22, their number reached about 550.
More also arrived after May 27 mainly through sweeper flights. Until this writing, about 1,000 of them arrived.
Acknowledging the efforts made by the regional task forces in coordination with local government units, Assistant Secretary Anthony Gerard Gonzales, Special Concerns Officer for Region 6 of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, said sending returning OFWs to their regions and provinces is not an easy task. "It is very challenging," he said.
He asked for the understanding of the public of what the government is doing for the OFWs.
"Let's give the government a chance, it is moving, it is doing its best, despite lack of personnel." Gonzales appealed to the public, citing also the tasks being done by OWWA and other concerned government agencies in the task forces.
RTF is headed by Office of Civil Defense-6 Director and RDRRMC chair Jose Roberto Nunez while the RIATF is headed by Department of the Interior and Local Government-6 Director Engr. Ariel Iglesia.
Gonzales also acknowledged the support of non-government organizations which demonstrates the working of the bayanihan spirit in Western Visayas.
According to the OPAV official, more OFWs are coming home. (JBG/JSC/PIA6)