Capitol issues travel protocols for repatriated OFWs, returning non-OFWs

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THE Cebu Provincial Government issued a set of protocols for repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and returning non-OFWs traveling to Cebu Province.

These protocols are defined under Executive Order (EO) 17 that Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia signed on Tuesday night, March 30, 2021.

According to the EO, OFWs and returning non-OFWs traveling to Cebu Province will be allowed “unimpeded entry” as long as the following are observed:

• Completely accomplished online Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) Passenger Registration Form via the MCIA’s website

• Proof of a pre-booked hotel accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Health (DOH) for a transient stay pending results of a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test

• Upon arrival in Cebu, the DOH will administer a Covid-19 RT-PCR test on the OFW or returning non-OFW free of charge. Pending the release of the test results, the person will be transferred to his or her pre-booked hotel.

• Upon release of a negative RT-PCR test result, the person will be allowed to depart for his or her local government unit (LGU) of destination. No other requirement will be imposed by the LGU where the person will be going to.

• If the RT-PCR test result is positive, the health protocols for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) positive persons will be followed.

The EO takes effect starting 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, March 31, 2021.

READ: What are the Philippines’ latest travel requirements?

The Cebu Provincial Government said that since the use of the accredited hotel is for transient stay until a negative RT-PCR test result is released, the accredited hotel accepting OFWs and returning non-OFWs waiting for their test results will be allowed to accept other bookings from the general public following health and safety protocols prescribed by the DOH.

The provincial government said that transient stay is different from quarantine. The latter refers to putting a person for a fixed number of days to prevent the spread of the disease.

According to Sugbo News, Garcia consulted with the officials of DOT, DOH, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Bureau of Quarantine, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), MCIA, GMR-Megawide Airport Corp., airline companies, and the Hotel, Resort, and Restaurant Association of Cebu before issuing the EO.

Garcia issued the EO “to ease the heavy financial burden on the returning non-OFWs and the finances of the OWWA.” (NRC)