Interior Secretary Año ensures return of OFWs

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Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday ensured that the return of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to their home provinces would be better in the coming days.

Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV, Año said the national government has already advised concerned agencies regarding the matter as some local chief executives have aired their sentiments on the supposed lack of coordination on the return of OFWs.

“Malinaw na ‘yan. Kahapon pa tayo nagbigay ng announcement. Alam mo kasi ‘yung nangyari na ito dahil na rin sa clamor ng OFWs na makauwi so nag-utos ang ating Pangulo noong Linggo ng gabi na sabi niya ‘gusto kong makauwi na ‘yung 24,000 OFWs na ‘yan’,” he said.

“‘Yung mga sinasabi ng local chief executives na di sila naabisuhan three days before ng biyahe, totoo ‘yun. ‘Yung utos ng Pangulo nagsimula lang naman noong Linggo at gusto niya Lunes ay simulan. ‘Yung gabing ‘yun nanawagan na rin tayo sa League of Provinces of the Philippines na mayroong kautusan na ganon,” he added.

On Monday, Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez lamented the lack of proper coordination on the return of OFWs stranded due to the strict quarantine.

Gomez said local government officials were expecting a proper notice on the return of the OFWs.

Año said he already talked to Gomez Monday evening regarding his sentiments about the return of individuals in Ormoc, Leyte.

He said Gomez was supposedly referring to the over 100 individuals who returned following the Balik Probinsiya program of the national government.

“Ang complaint o concern ni Mayor Gomez ay hindi naman ‘yung OFWs. Ang naging concern niya ay ‘yung naganap last week na dumating sa Leyte na kulang ang panahon para sila ay maabisuhan,” Año said, noting that it was an isolated case.

President Rodrigo Duterte gave a one-week ultimatum for the Department of Labor and Employment, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and Department of Health to send the OFWs back to their home provinces amid this quarantine.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said a total of 24,000 OFWs will be sent back to their homes in three days.

All police commanders have been alerted by the Philippine National Police to assist the OFWs who will go home./Stacy Ang

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