ARRIVAL. A group of Negrense Overseas Foreign Workers board the Philippine Coast Guard bus upon their arrival at the port of Escalante City, from Tabuelan, Cebu on Tuesday afternoon (April 14, 2020). They are part of the first batch of 35 OFWs who came from Cebu and brought to the patient care center in E.B. Magalona town to undergo the required 14-day quarantine. (Photo courtesy of PCG-Negros Occidental)

BACOLOD CITY – The 35 Negrense overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who arrived in Negros Occidental on Tuesday, are now under a 14-day quarantine at the "healing center" set up by the provincial government in E.B. Magalona town.

The group includes 20 residents of various towns and cities, as well as 15 from Bacolod City.

Travel restrictions due to the enhanced community quarantine imposed in Luzon and some provinces in the Visayas to control the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) have left a number of Negrenses stranded in various parts of the country.

Zeaphard Caelian, head of the Provincial Disaster Management Program Division, said the 35 comprised the first batch of the 90 OFWs from Negros Occidental transported from Cebu.

They were allowed to enter the province after submitting a certificate of completion of the required 14-day quarantine in their host-province or place of origin, he added.

Once they arrive in Negros Occidental, they are "subjected to (yet another) 14-day quarantine and classified as persons under monitoring regardless of the quarantine undergone in the host-province or place of origin," based on the protocols set for the repatriation of OFWs.

"(This is) to ensure the safety and general welfare of the province," Caelian said.

The group traveled from the port of Tabuelan town in Cebu and arrived at the port of Escalante City on Tuesday afternoon. They boarded two buses that directly brought them to the patient care center in northern Negros.

Government officials here called the patient care center or quarantine facility as "healing center".

The Philippine Coast Guard and the City of Bacolod deployed their respective buses to ferry the 35 passengers.

Caelian said that upon their arrival at the center, the OFWs were asked to undergo a rapid test for Covid-19.

He added that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is also assisting the provincial government in providing for the meals of the repatriated OFWs.

In March, the provincial government also facilitated the return of 89 Negrenses from Luzon through a Cebu Pacific flight from Clark International Airport in Pampanga, and also of 36 others from Batangas.

The two groups completed the 14-day quarantine at Mambukal Resort in Murcia town on April 1 and 3, respectively. (PNA)