OFW slams ‘unsuitable’ OWWA quarantine facility

Hotel suffers water supply interruption since Tuesday evening

A retuning overseas Filipino worker (OFW) complained of being placed in an “inadequate” quarantine facility by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) after returning from Singapore starting last Saturday night.

In a message to Kodao, “PB”, an engineer, said Red Doorz Hotel along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA)in Pasay City only had “closet-sized” rooms for him and his fellow OFWs that are “unsuitable” as quarantine facilities that lasts for days.

PB and fellow returning OFWs are required to complete a five-day quarantine until Thursday having been tested negative of the Covid-19 virus.

“Our room door size has the same width as a standard toilet door. The entrance could not be described as a walk way as its width is less than a meter width leading to the bed. The room is only two meters wide that do not allow us to open our standard large travel luggage. Our travel luggage is dirty and we have to place it on the bed!” he said.

Returning OFW slams size of room at OWWA quarantine facility he says even backpacking tourists would not stay in for more than 12 hours. (Photo by PB)

The OFW said their rooms are only good for backpacking transient tourists who only need room to wash and sleep for a night.

PB added their rooms have a single-sized bed, have their own bathrooms, are air-conditioned, with an electrical outlet, wi-fi access and a wall television set. They were also provided with a single-use soap and a sachet of shampoo.

 “No backpacker tourist stays in this type of room for more than 12 hours without stepping out. And yet we will be here at least five days,” he complained.

“Clearly this room is not designed for a five-day lockdown quarantine of a travel-weary OFW,” PB added.

Returning OFW said his room is so cramped he could not even open his luggage. (Photo by PB)

‘Stressful arrival and check in’

PB said their group of 25 OFWs from Singapore arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at about 6:30 Saturday night and were processed through by the bureau of Quarantine at about 7 PM.

Their group were through the Bureau of Customs only at about 9 PM, however, he said.

By then hungry, they were given “bland adobo” with a piece of chicken leg and water for dinner.

They were herded into a bus that arrived at RedDoorz EDSA-Pasay at 9:30 in the evening but were made to wait at the hotel garage for hours.

PB claimed that the staff he asked told him that OWWA did not give the hotel was not given advance notice on their arrival.

The group also suffered water supply interruption since Tuesday evening.

“Apparently, OWWA has this practice of very late notice to hotels like them. They couldn’t prepare in advance of course. And so we waited at the extension lobby of the hotel, which means its garage,” PB said.

PB was taken to his room at 11:40 PM, he revealed.

Returning OFW said his travel-weary group was made to wait at the hotel’s garage for hours while their check-in is being processed by OWWA until midnight. (Photo by PB)

“Theres no forward planning by the OWWA…There is no OWWA pre-arrival check of the rooms. Don’t they have any standard room requirement for quarantine? My housemates (as we call our collective group) were so stressed out from travel and the long wait in the garage (lobby extension),” he added.

PB said he quizzed the OWWA staff assigned to their group who reportedly said he himself was not aware RedDoorz EDSA-Pasay is still a quarantine facility.

“There’s a clear mismanagement of the influx of OFW arrivals this holiday season. OWWA knew of the total number of expected OFW per dayand yet there is lack of planning and coordination among themselves,” PB said.

OWWA did not reply to Kodao’s request for comment. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)