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42k returning OFWs in May, June could overwhelm quarantine facilities, Galvez warns

Some 42,000 Filipino migrant workers who are expected to return home in May and June could overwhelm the country’s isolation facilities, the chief implementer of the government’s COVID-19 response warned Tuesday.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. reported that there are already more than 27,000 OFWs currently in Metro Manila.

“Meron pa pong dadating na 42,000 this coming May and June so mao-overwhelm po ‘yung ating hotels,” he said in a televised briefing in Malacañang.

Galvez said that around 30,000 OFWs have so far been tested through a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine.

Out of the 22,432 results that have been released, 465 were positive.

“Kung hindi po natin ni-PCR ito, itong 465 magiging parang second wave [ng cases] at kawawa po ‘yung ating local government units lalo na po ‘yung mga hindi at walang alam at saka walang PCR doon po sa area at saka walang facilities,” Galvez said.

Some OFWs have complained about the delay in their test results. A pregnant OFW has even remained stranded at the quarantine facility as her due date approaches.

Malacañang has already ordered an inventory of the OFWs in quarantine.

Galvez said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has already ordered the Department of Transportation, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and the Maritime Industry Authority to immediately release OFWs who have tested negative for COVID-19.

He added that some 800 OFWs are currently isolated inside boats that have been converted into temporary COVID-19 facilities. —JST, GMA News