DoLE promises all stranded OFWs will be brought home before Duterte’s deadline

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THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said it will be able to make sure all stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) make it home before the deadline President Rodrigo R. Duterte set, with 19,000 out of 24,000 already brought home.

In an online briefing on Friday, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said that around 5,000 remain out of the 24,000 OFWs who were reportedly unable to return home despite testing negative for the COVID-19 virus and accomplishing the mandatory 14 day quarantine.

“We are just short by about 5,000 OFWs who are still waiting to be transported back home so as to accomplish what we were tasked to do. As of last night, we were able to send home 19,010 OFWs,” Mr. Bello said.

The deadline given by President Duterte earlier this week is this coming Sunday.

The DoLE has set up a command center to prevent any similar mishaps from happening. Mr. Bello also said he has signed an administrative order calling for the establishment of a crisis management center that will address OFW concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be led by former DoLE Secretary Marianito Roque.

Mr. Bello said he expects around 42,000 more OFWs to fly back to the Philippines by June. — Gillian M. Cortez