UAE-based Filipinos stuck at a quarantine facility in Metro Manila.
PHOTO BY SHIRLEY LACANARIA
DUBAI – Some 29 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who flew from Abu Dhabi to Manila were stranded for 20 days at a quarantine facility in Metro Manila.
As part of the Philippines’ anti-Covid measures, OFWs arriving in the country need to undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine at a government-designated facility.
TV Patrol reported that the OFWs had arrived in the country on April 25 but were still not given clearance to leave the quarantine facility despite completing their quarantine period.
Mary Ann Merteja, an OFW based in Dubai, said no one came to check on them at the facility in Novaliches district in Metro Manila’s Quezon City.
Merteja also said the food rations given to the group were not enough. “We even buy our own water,” she said, adding that her living expenses are growing on a daily basis.
The OFWs also said they have not been given a swab test, which was made mandatory for all OFWs beginning on April 27.
Dubai-based OFW Rhea Verdida complained that the facility did not even have basic medical equipment like a thermometer.
Glenn Naulalam, a nurse based in the UAE, also expressed his disappointment at the absence of medical services at the facility.
“The reason why I wanted to go home was because of my baby and my wife, who can’t move her muscles,” Naulalam said in Filipino.
Shirley Lacanaria said she rushed home from Dubai because her 4-year-old child was left alone with the neighbours after the family’s nanny left.
“It’s painful because I’m not sure if they can really take care of my child,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) urged OFWs for understanding, saying the swab test was only made mandatory on April 27 for all OFWs who finished their 14-day quarantine period. OWWA said that because of this, the list of people waiting to get the test is long.
“We prioritized those who have been in quarantine for longer, and we really just had to patiently await the lines at the swab testing centres,” said OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac.
As of Friday (May 15), the OWWA said that the OFWs stranded at the quarantine facility in Novaliches were scheduled to take their swab test and that those who test negative for coronavirus will be given clearance to go home.
Currently there are 25,000 OFWs stranded in various quarantine facilities across Metro Manila. OWWA said it was working to give clearance to OFWs who have not contracted Covid-19 as accommodation expenses, which are shouldered by OWWA, have reportedly reached 400 million pesos. DAJ/Expat Media
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