MANILA, (Mabuhay) — Around 66,000 repatriated Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were stranded in Metro Manila due to restrictions implemented amid the COVID-19 pandemic are already in their home provinces.

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said in a forum on Monday that 34,000 of them were seafarers, while 32,000 were land-based workers.

“Ang huling tala natin ay mga 66,000 na ang nakauwi sa kani-kanilang home local government units (LGUs) since May 15,” Cacdac said.

“Majority of those nakinabang sa libreng transport — charter planes, buses, voyages — ay seafarers,” Cacdac added.

Bangsamoro Inter-Agency Task Force earlier said locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning OFWs, who were assisted by Hatid Probinsya Program, were among the latest COVID-19 cases in the region.

Because of this and similar reports, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the government will suspend for two weeks the trips of LSIs to Regions VI and VIII starting Sunday to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Malacañang said that the government suspended the trips for LSIs to address concerns of local officials about the spread of COVID-19 in the provinces.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement after Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez claimed that the influx of LSIs caused the spread of the disease in areas earlier declared as COVID-free. (MNS)

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