THE PHILIPPINE government is now extending assistance to Filipino workers in Hong Kong who tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to the presidential palace.

In a statement, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Hong Kong provided 28 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with food, hygiene kits, and power banks “to allow them to communicate while waiting for calls from the Center for Health Protection” and HK labor department.

The Palace official said POLO coordinated with a non-government organization to provide an isolation facility to accommodate several of the OFWs.

“It also coordinated with the HK Labour Department, which set up an isolation facility for our kababayans (fellow Filipinos), pending admission to the quarantine facility, apart from providing transportation arrangements,” he added. 

Mr. Nograles said POLO has also provided US$200 for after-care financial assistance to those who recovered from coronavirus.

He added that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration will also provide US$200 for each COVID-positive OFW. 

Of the 28 infected HK-based OFWs, five have already recovered.

In a separate statement, Sen. Richard J. Gordon said combatting COVID-19 and its variants is a matter that requires a synchronized government and community effort “more so when the pandemic affects the OFWs in a place as crowded as Hong Kong where living space is limited.”

“We have to anticipate that many of our fellowmen will get sick. Hong Kong should allocate rooms for our OFWs to serve as quarantine facilities,” he said. “But if they can’t, OWWA should provide.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza