Stranded OFWs due to testing delay caused by Red Cross-PhilHealth issue reach 6,000
MANILA, Philippines — Over 6,000 overseas Filipino workers are now stranded in different quarantine facilities in Metro Manila after the Philippine Red Cross stopped conducting COVID-19 tests for the government, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Wednesday.
Bello said the OFWs are stranded since it now takes longer for them to get their COVID-10 results, which before only took one to two days.
“Mula pa nung October 15 ay nakatengga na ‘yung OFW dahil mabagal yung swabbing. Dati isa dalawang araw lang, ngayon umaabot na ng isang linggo [ang labas ng results],” he said in an interview over ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
(Since October 15, OFWs are already stranded because the swabbing takes longer. Before, it only takes one to two days before the results come out but now it takes a week.)
Since October 16, PRC has stopped conducting tests on arriving overseas Filipino workers, passengers in airports and seaports, individuals asking for COVID-19 tests in government swabbing facilities, front-line health and government workers, and others included in the expanded testing guidelines of the Department of Health.
It said it would only resume services once Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) pays its overdue balance of P930.99 million.
Bello said there are still over 100,000 OFWs who are expected to go back to the Philippines this year.
In a taped speech aired Monday night, President Duterte assured that the government will pay PhilHealth’s debt.
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