finance industry

Government to provide transpo to health workers, outbound OFWs

Lian Buan
Government to provide transpo to health workers, outbound OFWs

Essential workers, or those who fall under the lockdown exemptions, have to secure special passes

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said it would provide transportation to health workers as well as outbound overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), after these people were seen walking for hours from their homes to their destinations as public transportation was suspended during the Luzon-wide lockdown that began on Tuesday, March 17.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced this in a late night briefing of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Tuesday, where officials addressed some of the problems raised during the first day implementation of the lockdown.

“The Department of Transportation (DOTr), in cooperation with Local Government Units, and upon consultation with the Department of Health, shall develop a system of point-to-point transport services for all the aforementioned health workers,” Nograles said.

The point-to-point transportation covers both public and private health workers, as well as workers and volunteers of the Philippine Red Cross and the World Health Organization. (READ: LIST: Transport options provided by local government units)

Transpo for OFWs

Nograles also announced a latest policy change for outbound international flights: All nationalities are now allowed to fly out of airports from Luzon for the entire duration of the lockdown.

Nograles said the rationale behind this is to accommodate overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are bound by their contracts to return overseas, as well as Balikbayans who have to return to their countries of residence where they have families.

The government said OFWs would be provided transportation.

“OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) may provide transportation services to OFWs intending to leave for abroad,” said Nograles.

Nograles added that when the passengers travel to the airport, they should show their ticket to prove that their flight is in 24 hours.  They should also be accompanied by only one person.

He added said that the government will also provide transportation for arriving Filipino passengers so they could go home.

“OWWA shall provide transportation services for returning OFWs for the purpose of ferrying them from international ports to their respective destinations in Luzon,” said Nograles.

The DOTr said returning filipinos, their spouses and children, those with permanent residence visa, and diplomats can take flights to the Philippines.

Special passes for essential workers

For the other essential workers like those in the food, food delivery, food supplies, medicine, medicine supplies, medicine manufacturing services, the government will provide a special pass.

“Agencies with jurisdiction over those exempted from the strict home quarantine requirement are likewise tasked to issue official Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) accreditation IDs,” the Palace oficial said.

These IDs shall be ready by March 21 at the latest, Nograles added.

Meanwhile, “bona fide IDs issued by establishments exempted from the strict home quarantine requirements shall be honored by law enforcement agencies until March 21, 2020,” said Nograles. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.