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Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo–Puyat confirmed that as of 07 April, 2020, the DOT has secured a total of 11,549 hotel rooms for the accommodation of homebound overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are required to undergo the 14–day quarantine upon their arrival to the country.

Meanwhile, Business Processing Outsource (BPO) employees are currently billeted at some 13,287 hotel rooms located in NCR. Based on the Administrative order 2020–001B issued by Secretary Puyat , BPO employees fall under the category of “other guests” that may be accommodated in double occupancy rooms.

Secretary Puyat, who rallied the support of the private sector in this initiative said, “The overwhelming show of support of the hotel sector to our government’s call to make their rooms available to OFWs should somehow ease their anxiety, having to wait for another two weeks till they eventually reunite with their families. Meanwhile, we can expect more rooms as the DOT continues to encourage our private partners to extend the world–renowned Filipino hospitality to our kababayans.”

Secretary Puyat added that at least 209 hotels have participated to date, 160 of which are in Metro Manila and which have accommodated some 5,289 OFWs who have arrived the past several days.

The DOT Chief remarked that at least 49 of the hotels with 3,343 rooms available are located outside Metro Manila, including those in regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 7, 8, and 11, where those OFWs may be billeted near their home destinations. Additional hotel rooms may be reserved as needed for more homecoming OFWs.

The arrangement for the accommodations of the returning Filipino workers is a joint effort with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), also in coordination with the Department of Labor (DOLE), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Inter–Agency Task Force on COVID–19 crisis, headed by the DOH, as provided for by Republic Act 11469 or Bayanihan to Heal as One Act of 2020.

The costs of the accommodation may be shouldered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), other national government agencies, the OFWs’ recruiting agencies, or the OFWs themselves, as may be applicable.

During their quarantine, OFWs are confined to their assigned single–occupancy, fully–furnished rooms, complete with sanitation and hygiene kits until the day of their discharge, as cleared by authorized DOH Bureau of Quarantine personnel.

Sec. Puyat said the DOT family, particularly the assistance teams in the DOT regional offices throughout the country welcome the opportunity to serve in the frontline by welcoming home the OFWs, the nation’s modern day heroes, in their own special way.

Published:March 3, 2021

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