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160 OFWs fear growing depression over month-long quarantine

Among the 160 overseas Filipino workers who had been quarantined for over a month in Pasay despite testing negative for the coronavirus disease 2019, there was a growing fear that their isolation was causing them to fall into a deep depression.

In Raffy Tima's Saturday 24 Oras Weekend report , OFW Shirley said that she was growing restless, especially upon finding that she was negative for the virus

"Parang natutulala na nga rin ako. Totoo po 'yun kasi ako ramdam ko rin mismo sa sarili ko na ganoon na," Shirley said.

On April 26, Shirley's companion OFW from Kuwait committed suicide due to financial problems.

"Nagtatanong siya kung kailan ba tayo makakakuha ng P10,000 sa [Department of Labor and Employment]. Walang-wala po talaga kami," said Shirley.

For another OFW, Arfin, a Lanao del Norte native, being quarantined with his two children offered little consolation as he could tell the quarantine was taking a toll on his kids.

"Hirap na hirap na 'yung isa. Talagang 'yung nanganayat na talaga. Hindi kami makapag-luto dito kung ano 'yung gusto niya," Arfin said.

For those who were contemplating self-harm the Department of Health, together with the World Health Organization, and Natasha Goulbourn Foundation, launched Hopeline, a 24/7 suicide prevention hotline.

Hopeline may be reached at (02) 804-4673; 0917-5584673; and 2919 for Globe and TM subscribers.

Test results

Meanwhile, other OFWs in the Pasay facility could not understand why matters were moving so slowly.

The were only given a swab test on May 7, a month after arriving at the facility on April 4.

Their test results finally came out negative last week, but still the OFWs were still not allowed to go home due to a lack of certification.

However, to their confusion and frustration, some had been allowed to leave.

"May nag-message sa akin dito sa courtyard, may certificate, wala pa daw siya sa listahan sa negative pero nandyan na 'yung certificate niya," said OFW Jazz.

""Paano nangyari 'yun? Gusto lang din naman namin makauwi na dahil sa homesick na talaga. Napaka-delikado na talaga ng sitwasyon namin," he added.

Though grateful for the provisions that they were given, the workers worried over when they would be sent home.

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) officials at the quarantine facility would not comment on the situation as they were unauthorized to do so.

However, the OWWA and the Inter-Agency Task Force have asked for understanding from the OFWs, assuring them that they were working on transportation arrangements. — Joahna Lei Casilao/DVM, GMA News