Treat returning OFWs as heroes not disease carriers: Senator Recto

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“They deserve a red carpet welcome. Those who have brought progress to this country should not be shunned as carriers of a disease. To view them as such is fake news most foul,” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said regarding overseas Filipinos who are returning to country amid COIVD-19 pandemic.

Senator Recto highlighted that last year overseas Filipinos’ remittances reached P1.7 trillion.

He said homeward bound overseas Filipinos have earned the right to be treated “as returning heroes who have sacrificed so much for their country.”

“Hindi sila dapat maging stranded sa sariling bayan,” Recto said. Makaraan ang mahabang taong sakripisyo, gusto nang umuwi ng mga stranded na OFWs sa mga bahay na kanilang pinundar, sa mga bayang tinulungan nilang lumago, sa mga anak na kanilang pinaaral.”

The senator said the government should “scale up” quarantine facilities so that more OFWs will be given the green light to return home.

“Let us study the option of opening more airports to chartered flights from abroad, in cities where struggling hotels can earn money for hosting OFWs who have been tested as coronavirus-free,” Recto added.

In his May 25 talk to nation, President Rodrigo Duterte said he has ordered “the use of all government assets whether it’s really the air or the sea or the transportation owned by government that should be utilized in accepting and probably delivering them to their — if possible, delivering them to their homes, to their families.”

He also told local government units not to deny entry of returning overseas Filipinos who already tested negative on COVID-19 PCR test.

“Alam mo, you know ladies and gentlemen if you are listening – Pilipino ‘to kababayan natin. Tanggapin ninyo and provide for sequestration houses if you want. Iyong doon sila i-quarantine pero hati-hati tayo sa problema tutal hindi naman kami nagkulang. Whatever you need, we provide,” he said.

“Eh noong panahon ng good time we were experiencing the benefits of the dollar. It formed a big part of our GDP. GDP is simply income. Ang ibig sabihin ng GDP is income,” President Duterte added. “Noong income natin sa bansa natin malaki because nandito itong mga OFW. Tapos ngayon hindi natin tanggapin. What’s the — what’s the…? That’s final.”