Migrante International criticizes the Philippine Red Cross for its apparent return to an inefficient system of processing the PCR test results of returning OFWs.
The Philippine Red Cross’ Facebook page is flooded with comments from outraged OFWs who have yet to receive their RT PCR test certificates, which are required before they travel back to their home provinces.
The returning OFWs, who have been quarantined in their respective hotel accommodations for more than a week already since their return home are expressing extreme dismay and anger because of the delayed issuance of their certificates and the lack of a clear response from the Red Cross as to when the results would be issued. Many of them are returning home to visit their families and only have up to 2 weeks to one month time off as allowed by their employers or indicated in their contracts. They are worried that significant time is lost they could be spending with their families whom they have been separated from for years.
Family members of our returning migrant workers are equally dismayed and are immensely worried for the state of their loved ones in the quarantine shelters. Some family members have reported having to transport food to them to supplement the food provided for by OWWA because the food supply is insufficient.
How can we forget that the same time last year, thousands of our repatriated migrant workers who have lost their livelihoods abroad due to the pandemic and were forced to return home had to suffer one to three months of being stranded in their quarantine shelters in Manila because of the disorganized and inefficient system of the Red Cross in processing and releasing their RT PCR test results? Is the Philippine Government going to allow a repeat of this chaos at the expense of the hard-earned contributions of our economic heroes to PhilHealth which help fund the PH Red Cross COVID testing operations?
We urgently call on the Philippine Government to promptly investigate and resolve the cause of the delay to ensure our returning OFWs will not have to spend more than one week in their quarantine shelters and endure the same plight as experienced by thousands of repatriated OFWs last year.