Press Release
June 11, 2021

Senator Koko Pimentel's Statement on appeals received from OFWs asking for more reasonable quarantine protocols

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today said he supports the "swab-upon-arrival" policy for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs). This is in response to the various appeals received by his office from OFWs asking for more reasonable quarantine protocols.

The existing protocols require OFWs and ROFs to undergo a minimum of 10 days quarantine in an accredited quarantine facility from arrival before they are allowed to go home and complete the remaining quarantine period at home.

"Our hardworking OFWs and ROFs are often only given a short period of time by their employers to come home to visit their families. We do not want that period to be spent on quarantine alone, away from home. I am appealing to our government to study and implement the 'swab-upon-arrival' policy", Pimentel said.

Senator Pimentel pointed out that in fact some OFWs and ROFs are being required to undergo "double quarantine", first upon arrival and second upon reaching their respective hometowns.

"This requirement is excessive. Umuwi yung kababayan natin para makasama ang pamilya pero inubos natin ang mga araw niya sa quarantine!", Pimentel expounded.

Pimentel said that "We should give value to the scientific results of the RT-PCR Tests, the so-called gold standard in testing for COVID-19. Our returning kababayans, who are coming from other countries, can be tested upon arrival to see if they are infected upon arrival, and if results are negative, then they should be immediately released to finish the 14-day quarantine in their homes. On the 7th day from arrival, they should be swabbed again to comply with the directive of the IATF, this time the purpose is to check if they got the virus while here in the Philippines".

The Senator further explained that it is important to listen to feedback especially from those affected by the quarantine protocols. "Our OFWs and ROFs are directly affected by this and are already voicing out their concerns. Again, I support and understand the efforts of the government on effective quarantine protocols but there is room for more compassionate and reasonable regulations which do not compromise on the need for virus testing," Pimentel added.

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