DOLE sends home more than 19K OFWS

THE Department of Labor and Employment reported that the department was able to facilitate sending more than 19,000 overseas Filipino workers home.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said that as of Friday morning, the DOLE has almost completely accomplished what it was tasked to do, which is to send home some 24,000 OFWs.

“We committed to safely bring home our OFWs who were virtually locked up in various quarantine facilities over an extended period of time. As of this morning, we are just short by about 5,000 still waiting to be transported for their homecoming to accomplish what we were tasked to do. As of last night, we were able to facilitate sending home 19,010 OFWs,” he said in a statement.

Bello apologized for the anxiety and discomfort that the unwarranted suffering may have caused "our dear OFWs, all 24,000 or so of them."

He further explained that the command center was organized as a repository of data and information on the volumes of OFWs being repatriated to the country to prevent a repeat of the seemingly disorderly process of sending the OFWs home.

“This center will guide us in the formulation of proactive measures and crafting of policies in dealing with repatriation, reintegration, and assistance to OFWs who have been profiled even prior to their return to the Philippines,” the labor chief said.

Bello also said the center will also be of great help in the global mapping of inbound OFWs, and even outbound workers who will be deployed to host countries already opened to foreign nationals.

“I wish to restate that the government did not intend to inconvenience the returning OFWs with their prolonged quarantine and delayed test results. Our office simply had no control over the testing and issuance of clearances to them. But this is no excuse for us not to do better,” he stressed.