SAN FERNANDO CITY, March 29 (PIA) -- The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in the Ilocos Region provides free transportation to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) amid the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
According to Gerardo Rimorin, head of OWWA-1, their office has been implementing "Hatid-Sundo sa OFWs" program that offers free service to stranded OFWs who wish to go home to Region 1 since March 17.
He informed that as of March 27, a total of 98 OFWs have availed of the said assistance "and are now safely home with their families."
"They were advised by the office to comply with the strict 14-day home quarantine and subject themselves in daily monitoring by their barangay health workers," Rimorin said.
He said the mode of travel assistance starts from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
OFWS bound to Ilocos Region will be conveyed to Northern Luzon drop point area which is in Dau, Pampanga wherein they will be fetched by personnel from OWWA in Region 3. Consequently, they will be transferred to the vehicle provided by OWWA-1's on standby in Urdaneta City particularly at the Tarlac-Pangasinan Expressway (TPLEX) Entrance/Exit.
From there, they will travel down to La Union until Tagudin, Ilocos Sur checkpoint which is the last stop. Onboard OFWs will be dropped along the way as they will be met by their family or relatives.
"The OWWA has properly coordinated with concerned agencies and local governments for the easement of the transportation and accommodation assistance since the OWWA vehicles are subject to inspection in every checkpoints," said Rimorin.
He added, "The office has also complied with the travel requirements pertinent to the implementation of the assistance."
Further, the OWWA has partnered with some private service providers such as Ranchez Express for the vehicles used and Resort de Marea for the accommodation of the OFWs bound to Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur who are waiting for their family to fetch them.
"To ensure the safety of the OFWs and OWWA personnel administering the transportation assistance, strict sanitation procedures are strictly observed," he said.
Part of the measures against COVID-19 include social distancing, proper hand hygiene, and vehicle disinfection in coordination with the City Government of San Fernando, La Union.
The "Hatid-Sundo sa Stranded OFWs" assistance is being implemented by OWWA nationwide. (JCR/JND,PIA La Uniom with reports from OWWA-1)