23,000 more Filipino seafarers expected to come home as cruise ships halt operations

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 06 2020 09:31 AM | Updated as of Apr 06 2020 09:46 AM

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MANILA - Some 23,000 more Filipino seafarers are expected to return home this month up to early May as the new coronavirus halted operations of cruise ships worldwide, a labor agency said Monday.

More than 10,000 Filipino crew members have so far been repatriated and are billeted at different hotels in Metro Manila, according to Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Hans Leo Cacdac.

Cacdac urged the public not to discriminate against returning seafarers following reports that some residents opposed their 14-day stay in hotels for self-quarantine before returning to their home towns.

"Humihingi rin tayo ng pang-uunawa mula sa ating mga kababayan," he told radio DZMM.

"May mga hotels sa Metro Manila dito kung saan sinasagkaan sila ng mga barangay at nagkakaroon ng standoff pa nang kaunti. Eventually tinatanggap naman sila, nagkakaroon lang ng misunderstanding."

The seafarers may avail of the $200 cash assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment and the financial aid from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Cacdac said.

The agencies have yet to announce the process for the availment of these but it will most likely be distributed through electronic systems in compliance with quarantine rules, he added.

Filipino seafarers and other returning migrant workers in need of assistance may call OWWA's hotline at 1348, Cacdac said.