OWWA provides assistance to OFWs amid Luzon-wide Lockdown
Amidst the threat of the 2019 Coronavirus, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) remains committed to providing assistance to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families.
In light of the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine declared by President Rodrigo Duterte, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III has put forward an assistance measure approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Covid-19, whereby OWWA will provide free transportation for OFWs to and from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
On 17 March 2020, OWWA launched the “Hatid-Sundo sa Stranded OFWs” to provide free transport service to OFWs heading to and from the NAIA Terminals in light of the COVID-19 threat.
Seven (7) buses were mobilized to pick-up OFWs at the NAIA Terminals 1, 2 and 3, for transport to designated drop-off points in Dau, Pampanga; Calamba, Laguna; and within the National Capital Region. OFWs scheduled to fly overseas within the community quarantine period may also avail of the free- transport service of OWWA in going to NAIA.
Due to localized lockdown implemented by various provinces, OWWA encountered challenges in transporting the OFWs to the designated drop-off points. Despite some issues encountered at the local checkpoints, OWWA Administrator Atty. Hans Leo J. Cacdac stays positive that affected OFWs will be provided with necessary assistance.
“This a national emergency and in our effort to help we will encounter challenges. This is not the time to get bogged down by these challenges. Let us all move forward and continue our efforts”, said Administrator Cacdac.
The free-transport assistance of OWWA shall continue until the community quarantine is lifted. As of 21 March 2020, a total of 824 OFWs availed of the free-transport service of OWWA.
To ensure the safety of the OWWA personnel administering the free-transport and its passenger-OFWs, strict sanitation procedures are observed such as bus disinfection, social distancing, and proper hand hygiene.