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Duterte wants Bayanihan 2 balance used for quarantine costs of repatriated OFWs

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PRESIDENT Duterte late Monday ordered the use of the remaining funds of Republic Act 11519 or the Bayanihan 2 law for bolstering resources for the quarantine costs of repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFW).  

Duterte made the pronouncement after the provincial government of Cebu cited the cost of providing long-term quarantine for returning OFWs. 

“I am ordering everyone now, including the local government units, to provide hotel [accommodations to the OFWs], which will be paid by the national government,” Duterte said during his public address on Monday.

“I will order this to remove the dynamics of expenses of keeping them [OFWs] in [quarantine facilities],” he added.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) earlier said there are P18.4 billion in unused funds under the Bayanihan 2.

Duterte has yet to announce if he will support calls by civil-society groups and some lawmakers for him to ask Congress to convene a special session to extend yet again the validity of Bayanihan 2, which expires this month.

It is unclear how the remaining Bayanihan 2 funds, which are lodged with various implementing agencies, can be diverted for quarantine costs of repatriated Filipinos.

To recall, the Cebu province opted to allow inbound Filipinos to be tested upon their arrival. 

The travelers were allowed to leave the isolation facilities once they get their test results two to three days later and it shows they are free from Covid-19 infection. 

This violates the protocol of the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) requiring travelers to first undergo quarantine for seven days before they are tested for Covid-19, since the virus, in case they picked it up during their travel, does not show up soon  after they arrive.

The deviation by the Cebu government – which justified its move as necessary to comply with a local ordinance — prompted Malacañang to order the diversion of all international flights bound for Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from May 29 to June 12, 2021.

Image courtesy of AP/Aaron Favila

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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