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Monday , January 25 2021

About 24,000 Filipinos have lost jobs worldwide, Philippines trying to ease quarantine congestion

BANGKOK (AP) – As about 24,000 Filipinos who lost their jobs abroad are being transported by land, sea or air to their provincial homes, the president warned local officials not to refuse them entry out of coronavirus fears.

Foreigners wear protective suits as they enter the departure area of Manila’s International Airport, Philippines on Friday, May 22, 2020. Some airlines began flights in and out of the country as the capital eases it’s lockdown while it continues to fight the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

The workers returned to the country in recent months as jobs dried up worldwide due to the pandemic. They were quarantined for two weeks in hospitals, hotels and makeshift isolation centers in metropolitan Manila in a chaotic situation that delayed their trip home and sparked a myriad of complaints. Some had to wait for weeks for their coronavirus test results, but all being released and transported home have tested negative.

A maid from the Philippines wears a mask to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus as she walks in front of a newspaper kiosk in central Beirut’s commercial Hamra Street, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

President Rodrigo Duterte said in televised remarks Monday night that some provincial officials have refused entry to returning workers from abroad and warned them of possible lawsuits. Authorities have been scrambling to decongest the quarantine facilities in the capital since about 300,000 more displaced Filipino workers are slated to come home soon.
“I’m ordering you to accept them, open the gates of your territories,” Duterte said. “Do not impede it. Do not obstruct the movement of people because you run the risk of getting sued criminally.”

The thousands of workers began boarding buses, ships and planes back to their provinces on Monday in homecomings that are expected to be completed in a week.
The Philippines is a leading source of global labor.

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