MANILA, Philippines – Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) returning to the Philippines will be allowed to seek accommodation in hotels and similar establishments, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Sunday, March 22.
Nograles made the announcement in a bulletin aired on the People’s Television Network, where he said that the government’s coronavirus task force has amended guidelines on the Luzon lockdown to allow accommodation for distressed OFWs returning to the country.
This means they are now included among individuals allowed to stay in hotels. Nograles earlier said hotels and other hospitality businesses may only operate during the lockdown if:
- They have guests who booked their stay on or before March 17.
- They have guests who have existing long-term leases.
- They are housing employees of establishments exempted from the lockdown.
How it will work: The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will issue certifications to concerned OFWs, which would allow them to be housed in hotels after returning to the Philippines.
This will be done in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Tourism, and Department of Health.
Why this matters: While government officials have put in place a Luzon-wide lockdown to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus, OFWs are still allowed to return to the country and to leave for work abroad.
Repatriation efforts to bring home OFWs likewise continue despite the coronavirus outbreak. These workers may not be able to go to their residence right away if they live outside Luzon, so they will need a place to stay in during the lockdown.
The Philippines has confirmed at least 380 coronavirus cases as of Sunday afternoon, with 25 deaths and 17 recoveries.
The global death toll due to the disease has surpassed 13,000, while over 300,000 people have been infected across 169 countries. – Rappler.com