BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
The administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration committed to settle within this week the unpaid bills to hotels and inns that are used as quarantine facilities for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Bacolod City, Rep. Greg Gasataya said yesterday.
Gasataya said OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac made the commitment after he asked him about the status of their unsettled accounts with the hotels in Bacolod that are used as quarantine facilities for OFWs.
The solon said Bacolod Councilor Israel Salanga relayed to him Saturday that OWWA has unpaid bills with hotels and inns amounting to P17.5 million.
Gasataya said Cacdac told him they already paid an initial P10 million to the hotels and have about P25 million to settle this week.
“I think this already includes all the hotels in the province that are being used as quarantine facilities for returning OFWs,” Gasataya said.
Councilor Renecito Novero, chair of the Quarantine Center Action Team, said earlier that there are about 21 hotels and inns in Bacolod that are accommodating OFWs.
He said five of these establishments are now refusing to accept OFWs unless they are paid by OWWA.
The city government, Novero said, requested for a one-week moratorium on the return of OFWs, while OWWA settles its unpaid bills, he said.
Gasataya said that since OWWA has granted the request for a one-week moratorium, hotel accommodation for returning OFWs will no longer be a problem.
“We understand that the hotels these days have been affected economically by the health crisis, which could have an effect on their operations,” the Bacolod congressman said.
With the spike in the number of Covid-19 cases, not just involving OFWs and locally stranded individuals (LSIs) but local transmissions as well, the moratorium can help the city address other concerns, Gasataya added.*