THE Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) approved the request of Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) to increase the hotel rates for quarantined overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
However, quarantine hotels will need to justify their costs to Owwa to avail themselves of the higher rate of P2,500 per night for five- and four-star hotels and P2,000 per night for three-star and lower-rated hotels, said HRRAC president Alfred Reyes, in a press briefing Wednesday, June 9.
Quarantine hotels regardless of star rating used to charge OFWs and ROFs P1,400 per night inclusive of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“All of those quarantine hotels will now submit a new rate to Owwa 7 based on the approved parameters. However, they will need to justify to Owwa why there is a need for them to increase the rates and one of those factors is the availability of a nurse/s on duty,” he said.
Reyes said if a property is five- or four-star, nurses on duty should be available 24 hours.
“If a hotel is not following the protocol required by the Department of Tourism and the Department of Health, then it’s up to Owwa now to really grant that particular rate of P2,500 and P2,000,” Reyes said. “We asked for a price hike, so we hope that the service that our hotel members will give to OFWs and ROFs is what they need.”
HRRAC submitted a price hike request to Owwa on May 20, citing high operational costs.
Reyes emphasized that a hotel can’t survive on a P1,400 rate per night.
“Our member hotels and resorts are really complaining because if you are going to take out the taxes, service charges and meals that are provided, what is left is only less than P800. Our operating cost runs between P1,000 and P1,500 on a regular room, excluding the in-house employee costs,” said Reyes.
The HRRAC official noted that quarantine hotels and resorts house their employees and provide meals for them to protect their families while they serve arriving OFWs and ROFs.
According to Reyes, the approval of the price hike is timely as the industry prepares for the resumption of international flights in Cebu on June 13.
“We are thankful for the organizations, local government units and government agencies that helped us. This is timely since by June 13, which is the time when the diversion of flights will be lifted, hopefully, we can start accepting again OFWs and ROFs,” Reyes said.
The current occupancy rate of quarantine hotels stands at 30 percent. Reyes said there are some members running at zero occupancy due to the diversion of Cebu-bound international flights to Metro Manila.
At present, Cebu has a total of 3,600 quarantine rooms. Reyes said they are aiming to increase the number of such rooms to 5,000 for flights and hotel and resort occupancy to improve.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed on June 5 a memorandum that extends the diversion of international flights bound for Mactan-Cebu International Airport to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City until June 12. (JOB with KOC)