Press Release
June 21, 2020


With more than 300,000 overseas Filipino workers expected to arrive in the next three to four months, Senator Richard J. Gordon reiterated his call for the Department of Transportation to open up the Subic Bay International Airport and divert OFW flights there to facilitate their testing so they can immediately come home to their respective provinces.

Gordon pointed out that Subic and Clark are very suitable for accommodating arriving OFWs because, aside from the airport, it also has a seaport and a quarantine facility, as well as numerous hotels that can be used to accommodate OFWs.

The chairman and CEO of the Philippine Red Cross also noted that testing incoming OFWs for COVID would not pose a problem with the newly opened PRC molecular laboratory in Subic and Clark which has the combined capacity for running up to 4,000 tests a day.

"More than 300,000 OFWs may be coming. Now we have an airport here and may seaport. So 'yung iba pwedeng dalhin dito at ite-test dito ng Coast Guard at merong quarantine facility dito na nilagay si Amy at marami ring hotel dito na pwedeng paglagyan. Pero pag tinest sila, dapat di tatagal ng dalawa, tatlong araw, makukuha nila 'yung result at makakauwi sila kaagad. Kahapon kinausap ko si Sec. Art Tugade at sabi ko Art, matagal ka nang nangangako sa kin, buksan mo na 'yung airport ng Subic para diyan maglanding 'yung ibang OFWs para ma-test na sila kaagad-agad," he said.

Gordon also pointed out that ships carrying Filipino seafarers that are also expected to arrive can dock at the Subic seaport where it would be easier for trained members of the Philippine Coast Guard to go up the vessels and swab the seafarers.

"Dati sa Manila Bay sila nagte-test, ang hirap pumasok. Sa Subic, kalmado ang tubig kaya mas madaling pasukin ng Coast Guard 'yung mga barko para makapag-swab sila sa mga seafarers," he said.

Gordon further said that using the SBIA, which used to be the hub for the Asian operations of American multinational delivery services FedEx Corporation, to divert OFW flights as the country battles with the COVID pandemic, could jumpstart the resumption of its operations for international flights and reactivate its tourism industry.

"Once we have tested everybody here we can advertise to the whole world, 'we have already tested all the employees here, we have tested everyone here so now you are welcome to come down here.' And jobs can be generated right away," he said.

Gordon allocated P500-million for the rehabilitation of the SBIA in the 2019 budget and called for its reopening for international flights to boost tourism in the area.

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