BY CHYRSEE G. SAMILLANO
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has granted the request of the Bacolod City government for a one-week moratorium on the return of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) while it settles its unpaid bills to hotels and inns in the city amounting to P17.5 million, Councilor Renecito Novero said yesterday.
There are 21 hotels and inns in Bacolod that have been accommodating OFWs, Novero, chair of the Quarantine Center Action Team, said.
About five establishments are refusing to accept OFWs anymore unless they are paid by OWWA, Councilor Israel Salanga, who heads the Action Team on Returning OFWs, said.
Novero said the hotels and inns are having problems on the payment of bills of OFWs.
However, OWWA-Bacolod focal person Rizza Joy Mapa-Moldes said they have already paid some hotels and that some payments are forthcoming as they have to deal with procedural and technical difficulties.
Novero said the problem is that hotel owners and managers might be discouraged that they have not been paid and might halt momentarily accepting returning OFWs.
The moratorium was also requested by the doctors, as well as Salanga and his team, Novero said.
While they are grateful that they were granted a one-week moratorium for returning OFWs, they are hoping that OWWA will not allow their return in huge numbers or they will be facing the same problem or even worse, Novero said.
The city’s quarantine facilities are reserved for returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs), authorized persons outside residence (APORs), LSIs and asymptomatic positive, he said.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia said the city mayors will have a teleconference with Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año to take up protocols and procedures on locally stranded individuals.*