Duterte asks LGUs to accept returning OFWs amid the COVID-19 pandemic

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 5) – President Rodrigo Duterte appealed to local government units to accept returning overseas Filipino workers in their areas amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

“The national government will insist that you accept the OFWs,” said Duterte in his taped message aired late Monday night.

The President lamented that some LGUs are not accepting returning Filipinos abroad back to their localities.

Duterte understood the concern of the LGUs that returning OFWs may spread the virus in their area. But he responded that it is their duty to help and protect their constituents.

Duterte also mentioned that every Filipino has the constitutional right to travel, as enshrined in Section 3 of the Bill of Rights under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which cannot be taken away by the LGUs.

The President also urged LGUs to provide them with a temporary place to stay in their towns in order to avoid further spread the disease.

“Rather just leave them there stranded, they have money for their pockets intended as savings for their family. Their money will run out and they would go home with their pockets empty. We do not want that to happen,” said Duterte.

Duterte suspended yesterday the collection of higher premiums for OFWs from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to ease their burden amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The Department of Labor and Employment also offered a one-time ₱10,000 cash aid for repatriated OFWs. The department confirmed that some 86,000 overseas workers are qualified to receive the financial assistance.

OFWs must submit to their respective Philippine Overseas Labor Office an accomplished application form for the special cash assistance downloadable from the website or social media account of the said office.

The workers must also submit a photocopy of passport and/or travel documents such as residence ID or visa, proof of overseas employment, proof of loss of employment on account of the virus, and proof of a pending case that caused their current undocumented status such as case reference number and case endorsement stamped by the POLO.