MANILA -- Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat confirmed a total of 11,549 hotel rooms for the accommodation of homebound overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are required to undergo the 14-day quarantine upon their arrival to the country.

Meanwhile, business process outsourcing (BPO) employees are currently billeted in some 13,287 hotel rooms located in the National Capital Region.

Under Administrative Order 2020-001B issued by Puyat, BPO employees fall under the category of “other guests” who may be accommodated in double occupancy rooms.

"The overwhelming show of support of the hotel sector to our government’s call to make their rooms available to OFWs should somehow ease their anxiety, having to wait for another two weeks till they eventually reunite with their families. Meanwhile, we can expect more rooms as the DOT continues to encourage our private partners to extend the world-renowned Filipino hospitality to our kababayans,” she said.

Puyat added that at least 209 hotels have participated to date, 160 of which are in Metro Manila that have accommodated some 5,289 OFWs who have arrived.

At least 49 of the hotels with 3,343 rooms available are located outside Metro Manila, including those in the Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Central and Eastern Visayas, and Davao regions, where those OFWs may be billeted near their home destinations.

Additional hotel rooms may be reserved as needed for more returning OFWs.

The arrangement for the accommodations of the returning Filipino workers is a joint effort with the departments of health and interior, in coordination with the departments of labor and foreign affairs and the inter-agency task force on the Covid-19 crisis, as provided for in Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act of 2020.

The costs of the accommodation may be shouldered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), other national government agencies, the OFWs’ recruiting agencies, or the OFWs themselves, as may be applicable.

During their quarantine, OFWs are confined to their assigned single-occupancy, fully-furnished rooms, complete with sanitation and hygiene kits, as cleared by authorized Department of Health - Bureau of Quarantine personnel. (DOT PR)