Senator Sonny Angara today aired his support to the policy of the provincial government of Cebu, led by its Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, regarding the Swab-Upon-Arrival for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) in Cebu.
Angara said the policy is practical and makes perfect sense considering that OFWs and ROFs that land in Cebu will be tested immediately and the results will be out within the day.
Gov. Garcia explained that the policy, as contained in Executive Order No. 17, Series of 2021, that was later adopted into a local law through Provincial Ordinance No. 2021-04 was issued with the welfare of the OFWs and ROFs in mind, particularly those who are returning due to unforeseen circumstances.
“Many of the OFWs and ROFs arrive in Cebu during this period because of deaths in the family and other emergencies that require them to return home immediately. The time off from work is short and requiring them to be holed up in quarantine facilities for 14 days will defeat the purpose of their return home,” Angara said.
“These quarantines also involve checking into designated hotels, which entails an additional expense on the part of the arriving OFWs and ROFs. Mabigat na nga para sa kanila ang biglaang pag uwi sa Pilipinas tapos may karagdagan na gastusin pa sila na haharapin sa pag quarantine sa mga hotel. Kaya maganda ang naitakdang patakaran ng probinsya ng Cebu at sinusuportahan ko ito,” Angara added.
Angara said the Cebu ordinance does not run counter to the objective of preventing the spread of COVID-19 since testing will be done upon arrival and the results will be known shortly after.
Those with negative results will be allowed to return to their homes where they will complete the remainder of their quarantine. They will then undergo another swab test on the 7th day in compliance with the directive of the IATF.
All seven congressmen of Cebu and the representative of the AKO Bisaya Party list have signified their support to the Swab-Upon-Arrival policy of the provincial government.
Angara urged the IATF to study the policy of the Cebu provincial government and see if this can be incorporated or adopted in its protocols on COVID-19 testing for international arrivals.