Are you an OFW returning to the Philippines? Here are the new rules starting Feb 1

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Starting February 1, all returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are not going to do a PCR test upon arrival at Philippine airports. Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Deputy Administrator Mocha Uson, through a Facebook live stream, confirmed a couple of changes for returning OFWs. 

Previously, all OFWs coming from countries with new Covid-19 variants were getting swabbed at the airport and will be brought to OWWA quarantine facilities to wait for the result. If the results were negative, they were allowed to leave the facilities. However, those who tested positive for the virus were referred to the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) to be treated. 

Starting February 1, Uson said that returning OFWs will no longer be swabbed upon arrival. “Saang bansa ka man galing, [kahit] Saudi, Hong Kong, red-flagged country [man yan], kahit saan pag dating sa airport, wala nang swab test,” she said. 

However, OFWs are still required to fill-out health declaration forms in the airport. Representatives from the BOQ will brief the newly-arrived OFWs on what to expect. 

Uson said these OFWs will be taken to OWWA quarantine facilities and will then be swabbed after five days. The first day of the quarantine period, if an OFW arrives on February 1, will be on February 2. On February 6, or after five days, representatives from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will conduct a PCR test on the OFWs inside the quarantine hotels.  

Within 24 to 48 hours, the results will be made available. 

If the test is negative, the OFW will be discharged from the quarantine facility and will be allowed to return to his or her province. Meanwhile, those who tested positive for the virus will be referred to the BOQ for further medical treatment. 

“Kung Visayas and Mindanao, merong exclusive chartered flight ang PAL (Philippine Airline) inarkila ang OWWA, binabayaran ng gobyerno,” Uson said. 

“Yung mga taga-Luzon, no need airplane. Sa PITX (Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange) terminal merong mga OWWA bus doon ihahatid at drop off kayo sa mga rehiyon niyo,” she said. 

Those who received their negative test result are advised to continue the 14-day quarantine period in their homes. 

Those OFWs who have taken the vaccine against the Covid-19 are still required to undergo the same process.