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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Ban on returning OFWs from 21 countries mulled

Recommendation to include OFWs in travel ban up for consideration

MANILA – Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said they are looking into a recommendation to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), to bar the entry of overseas Filipino workers from countries with reported cases of the variant disease.

In a statement, Secretary Bello was quoted there is a move for a total restriction on travel to the Philippines from countries with the variant viral infection.

“Right now, if the traveler is coming from the 21 countries, he will not be allowed to enter. The only exemption is if you’re an PFW but there is a move that even OFWs will be included but it’s still being studied,” said Secretary Bello in a virtual forum.

He was asked of the possible restriction of OFWs in the likely event that an OFW is infected with the new variant.

He added he has not received any report that an OFW has been infected with the new variant.

“So far, we have not received such report. We have a specific number of OFWs contaminated by COVID-10 bet we have no number of Filipino overseas worker who were contaminated with the COVID variant,” he explained.

The Philippines has ceased accepting passengers or travelers from the 21 countries with the new variant. The Labor secretary said there are 11,000 overseas Filipinos afflicted by COVID-19. More than 7,000 have recovered while 876 died.

He said there are 526,525 OFWs affected by the pandemic as of January 3. The number of repatriated workers reached 396,000.

“When we say repatriated it means, we brought them to their final destination, to their hometowns. There are still 60,000 to 70,000 left,” the Labor official said.

Secretary Bello said pf the over 500,000 displaced, there are Filipinos who chose not to leave. OFWs in Europe said they have unemployment insurance where their salaries for one year have been paid.

“They hope the situation will improve,” Secretary Bello

Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III (File Photo/Melo M. Acuna)

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