Press Release
June 10, 2021


I laud the provincial government of Cebu for extending humanitarian considerations to our OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and ROFs (Returning Overseas Filipinos) who are besieged with various challenges during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their anxieties with their job and financial security, health and safety while away from their families cannot be appeased by any amount or article. Indeed, allowing them to immediately reunite with their families upon their arrival in the province under the "Swab-Upon-Arrival-Policy" is a commendable initiative." This is how Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr. in his letter to Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia welcomed Cebu's "Swab-Upon-Arrival Policy" for arriving OFWs and ROFs in the province of Cebu. It was first implemented through Executive Order No. 17, Series of 2021 issued by Garcia, which was subsequently adopted as a local law through Cebu Provincial Ordinance No. 2021-04. The solon expressed his belief that Cebu's policy does not contradict the purpose of the IATF's (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases) guidelines, saying this in fact complements and improves upon the practice. Under the policy, Cebu residents, OFWs, and ROFs are subjected to an RT-PCR swab test upon arrival. When they test negative, they are sent home and undergo home quarantine for the remaining balance of the 14 days required and will be monitored by the barangay. After seven days, the second swab will be done by the local government unit of residence in Cebu. "Wala nang mandatory 2-week quarantine sa hotel na sadyang napakagastos," Revilla said. "There are even experts saying that there is no substantial difference between testing upon arrival and testing after seven days - na gusto ng IATF," he added. Revilla stressed that the swab-after-7-days/10-day-quarantine of the IATF imposes a great and additional burden on OFWs and ROFs, and deprives them of precious time to be with family. "Hindi naman sila pauuwiin kung hindi negative 'yung swab test, at itutuloy naman nila ang home quarantine. So wala namang dapat ipag-alala," he ended.

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