DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 May) – A total of 76 returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) originally from the Davao Region arrived at the Macabalan Port in Cagayan de Oro City on Tuesday and were immediately brought to Davao City using transportation arranged by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
OWWA-XI labor communications officer Maricel Sarabillo said that the returning OFWs took 2Go Travel’s MV St. Therese of the Child Jesus for their voyage to Cagayan de Oro. The OFWs, she added, are Davao residents who were previously stranded in Metro Manila and Cebu due to travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The repatriation was arranged by the OWWA in Region X and XI, in coordination with the Department of Internal and Local Government (DILG) XI and the City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) of Davao City.
Among the returning OFWs include 45 residents from Davao City, 17 from Davao del Norte, five from Davao del Sur, five from Davao de Oro, two from Davao Occidental, and two from Davao Oriental.
Sarabillo said that the agency has provided transportation for the OFW repatriates from Cagayan de Oro back to Davao City. Their respective local government units in the Davao Region then provided transportation to fetch them from Davao City going back to their respective hometowns, she added.
Sarabillo said that these OFWs did not avail of the sweeper flights as it was only the 2GO Travel ship that was most possible means for them to be able to come home to Davao Region.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier warned local government units not to bar returning OFWs to their hometowns, noting that only the national government can impose restrictions on travel as it is the only agency who can declare such.
“I’m ordering you to accept them, open the gates of your territories and allow the people, and allow the Filipino to travel wherever they want,” the President said, pointing out that it is “constitutional right of people to go home.”
“[D]o not impede it. Do not obstruct the movement of the people because you run the risk of getting sued criminally,” President Duterte stressed. (Warren Elijah E. Valdez / MindaNews)