MANILA, Feb 21 (Mabuhay) — The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will provide cash aid worth US$200 (around PHP10,000) for each overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Hong Kong who tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Malacañang said Monday.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, also acting presidential spokesperson, made this announcement as he assured that the Philippine government, through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), is currently extending assistance to Covid-infected OFWs in Hong Kong.

He said the POLO immediately provided OFWs there with food, hygiene kits, and power banks to allow them to communicate while waiting for calls from the Center for Health Protection and HK Labor Department.

The POLO coordinated with a non-government organization to provide an isolation facility to accommodate several of our OFWs, he noted.

He said the POLO also coordinated with the HK Labor Department, which set up an isolation facility for our kababayans, pending admission to the quarantine facility, apart from providing transportation arrangements.

The POLO has also provided US$200 for after-care financial assistance to those who recovered from Covid-19, he added.

As of February 19, five out of 28 OFWs in Hong Kong who contracted Covid-19 have fully recovered. Out of the five, three have returned to their respective employers.

On Sunday, the Department of Labor and Employment belied reports that a number of Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong had been fired by their employers after testing positive for Covid-19.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said all OFWs who contracted Covid-19 are being monitored by the POLO and the Philippine Consulate General (PCG).

The PCG in Hong Kong said they will “blacklist” employers who fire Filipino workers on account of contracting Covid-19.

The Chinese territory is currently grappling with an unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases fueled by the Omicron variant, with healthcare facilities reaching over 90 percent capacity as of last week. (MNS)

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