OWWA delivers cash aid, transport service to 441 quarantined seafarers during send-off in New Clark City
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) hied to New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac early morning of March 11, 2020 to bring immediate cash assistance and to provide transport service to 441 seafarers cleared from COVID-19 during their send-off yesterday after ending the mandatory 14 days quarantine.
The 441 Filipino ship crew were on-board the COVID 19-infested MV Diamond Princess Cruise Ship that was quarantined at the Port of Yokohoma for 14 days. They were repatriated by the Department of Foreign Affairs on February 25, and were brought straight to New Clark City for another 14 days of quarantine. After being cleared from the virus by the Department of Health (DOH), they were finally allowed to go to their respective home destinations.
During the send-off led by the DOH, OWWA gave P10,000 each to the 441 seafarers, totaling P4.41M. For the transport service, OWWA provided bus service that brought 81 seafarers to Clark International Airport and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and airline tickets for their return to their remote home provinces.
Following the strict orders of the DOH, which controls the activities in New Clark City, the Repatriation Assistance Team of OWWA, headed by Director Jocelyn Hapal and OWWA Region 3 Director Esperanza Cobbarubias, swiftly conducted the delivery of welfare assistance. Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, the manning agency of the seafarers, similarly provided land transport service to the OFWs back to Manila.
In his message over Tweeter on February 21, OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac called the Filipino ship crew as heroes, paraphrasing David Bowie, “They can be heroes just for over 14 days!” He said the “seafarers onboard the cruise ship MV Diamond Princess served beyond the call of duty.” He likewise wished them Godspeed during the send-off.