By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Hotels, inns in Bacolod ‘overwhelmed’ over influx of repatriates
Hotels and inns in Bacolod City are “overwhelmed” by the influx of returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the province forcing the provincial government to ask for another moratorium.
Dr. Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, Provincial Incidence Management Team head, said that Negros Occidental has already received about 800 OFWs since th
e moratorium was lifted last Saturday, August 22.
Caelian said the number is more than what the local hotels and inns can handle right now.
“I have recommended to Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson to ask for a moratorium on the return of OFWs from the national government because of the situation here,” Caelian said.
He said that after the provincial government was bashed on social media for alleged “poor quarantine facilities,” the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) took over in accommodating them.
What the province committed was the transport of the repatriated OFWs from the airport to the hotels contracted by OWWA as well as provide a team to take swab tests, he said.
Caelian said that from August 22 to 23, there were a total of eight flights instead of just two flights a day as earlier agreed between OWWA and the provincial government.
“OWWA can only provide 580 hotel rooms but what came in were 770 OFWs,” he pointed out.
Caelian said they called on local government units to fetch their OFWs and bring them to their local quarantine facility, adding that the cities of Bago and Kabankalan and Pulupandan town to decongest the premises of a hotel in Bacolod City.
He said there are still many OFWs stranded overnight at the Bacolod-Silay Airport because no hotels will accept them.
“I called up the OWWA regional director to ask their national office to stop the return of OFWs to Negros because they cannot be accommodated anymore here,”Caelian said. “My first responders are tired already. They need to take a break, too.”/DGB, WDJ