STATEMENT OF OWWA ADMINISTRATOR HANS LEO CACDAC on the Repatriated OFW tested positive for COVID-19 in Iloilo

I wish to react with regard to the Manila Bulletin article entitled “OWWA slammed after a repatriated OFW tested positive for COVID-19 in Iloilo”.

Let me begin on a conciliatory note. I have my highest respect for Governor Defensor, Mayor Treñas and the City and Province of Iloilo, and offer our continuing support to their leadership.

I shall focus on the three OFWs transported by OWWA from Cebu to Iloilo on April 8th, without disclosing their identity. The names and transport of the OFWs were coordinated with the Office of Civil Defense (Regions 6 and 7), the Cebu City Government, and the Iloilo City Government.

The three OFWs arrived in Cebu from Dubai via Emirates Airlines on separate dates from March 17 to March 19. They left Cebu with Medical Certificates issued by the DOH-Bureau of Quarantine or the Cebu City Health Department issued on April 2, April 6, and April 8, respectively. These Certificates state that the three OFWs were asymptomatic and had hurdled the 14-day quarantine in Cebu.

Our people on the ground in both Regions 6 and 7 guided the three OFWs and around 20 other Ilonggo OFWs that night of April 8th — before, during and after the boat trip from Cebu to Iloilo City. We kept them company and guided them. And we wish to assure them that we shall maintain our assistance, because this is how we are at OWWA. We treat our dear OFWs as more than family. If they are healthy, we help them with their whatever needs they may have. If they are sick, we help them even more.

My people on that fateful night were guided by pertinent Resolutions of the IATF, as follows:

Series of 2020 April 1, 2020

“F. LGUs are hereby strongly enjoined to allow the unhampered transit of OFWs who have been issued DOH or LGU certificate of completion of 14-day facility-based quarantine, or those who may be required by the DOH or LGUs to undergo a mandatory 14-day home quarantine.”

Series of 2020 April 8, 2020

“G. To carry out the directive under Paragraph (F) of IATF Resolution No. 18, series of 2020 of ensuring the unhampered transit of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who have been issued certificates of completion of fourteen (14)-day quarantine, or those who may be required to undergo mandatory 14-day home quarantine, all LGUs are enjoined to allow the docking of maritime vessels in their ports, as well as to allow the disembarkation and transit of the aforementioned OFWs to their ultimate destination in the country.”

Since the ECQ last March 15th, we have aided around 10,000 stranded OFWs. They are OFWs we have personally transported, fed, accommodated, befriended, and kept company during these difficult times.

If we have been imperfect, then I apologize to Mayor Treñas and the City of Iloilo. At the same time, we offer our continuing support and partnership, as there are many more OFWs we could serve during this, perhaps the greatest challenge of our generation.

Hans Cacdac
Administrator, OWWA