Amid the expected influx of repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFW) during the Christmas season, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has renewed its request for additional budgetary allocation for its assistance funds.
This despite the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to finally reduce the quarantine period for fully vaccinated travelers from green and yellow countries last month.
In an online interview with PTV last Tuesday, OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac said the policy shift from the IATF did help reduce their expenses in helping repatriated OFWs.
The maximum period of stay for qualified OFWs in government quarantine facilities was reduced from a maximum of 14 days to 5 to 8 days because of the said IATF policy.
“So our OFWs are able to go home to their families faster, and our cost for quarantine accommodation was also reduced,” Cacdac said.
However, he noted they expect an influx of repatriated OFWs with the upcoming Christmas season like in previous years.
Currently, he said, they are shouldering the accommodation of 9,500 OFWs, who are staying in 170 quarantine hotels.
OWWA earlier requested P4.2 billion from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to pay for the food, transportation, and accommodation of the returning OFWs until December 31, 2021.
So far, Cacdac said the DBM only committed to grant them this week the P1 billion of the amount they requested.
“We are still hoping the final tranches will be given to us for [our expenses] in the remainder of the year,” Cacdac said.