Handy Guide for OFWs and Non-OFWs on Returning to the Philippines

Kababayans who are planning to return to the Philippines will need to be updated regarding the rules set by the IATF and the government. This involves registering with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Red Cross.

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Returnees will also need to prepare before going on quarantine and knowing the transportations available. There are different procedures for OFWs and non-OFWs.

Register with OASIS before your flight
Screengrab: Chico Amadeo YouTube Channel

Quarantine Facilities and Other Arrangements

Filipinos based abroad should keep abreast of the guidelines that they have to abide with. Knowing all these updated rules and regulations will prevent any misunderstanding upon arrival. A YouTube video from Chico Amadeo explains the updated guidelines to help our returning kababayans.

Here are the guidelines for OFWs:

  1. As soon as you have your plane ticket, register with the E-CIF Red Cross, OWWA OASIS, and Traze App. Registering with Red Cross will get free swab testing for the OFW, while OWWA Oasis will facilitate the booking of a quarantine facility in the Philippines. You can register 3-5 days before your flight.
  2. Have a printout of the confirmed accommodations since this will be presented at the airport.
  3. Be sure to bring a ball pen since you will be writing on health declaration forms aboard the plane.
  4. Before embarking on the plane, officials from the Bureau of Quarantine will conduct an orientation with the passengers. The talk usually lasts for half an hour and will be followed by taking of body temperature.
  5. At the airport, go to the OWWA desk for further interviews. You will then be directed to the shuttle that will bring you to the quarantine facility, as soon as you are cleared with immigration.
  6. A house parent will be assigned to assist the quarantined OFWs. You can get in touch with the house parent on your way to the quarantine facility.
  7. The facility is also non-smoking. Thus, all guests are expected to abide by this rule.
  8. The quarantine period is from 6 to 7 days. On the 5th day, health personnel will come to the quarantine facility to collect swab samples from the OFWs.
  9. The result will be sent by email. If you receive a negative result from the RT-PCR test, you are free to go. Have your quarantine certificate ready. You can ask the hotel staff to print the result for you.
  10. If you live in Metro Manila, you can ask your relatives to pick you up. But if you live outside Metro Manila, you can take the transportation that OWWA will provide. You should also confirm with your local LGU regarding the quarantine procedures.

Here are the guidelines for non-OFWs:

  1. As soon as you have confirmed your flight back home, you should register with E-CIF Red Cross (for Philippine Airlines passengers) or www.padlab.ph for other airlines. You are also required to download the Traze app.
  2. Before the flight, you also need to book your stay with a DOH-accredited quarantine hotel. You will stay at the facility for 6 to 7 nights. You also have the option to book a hotel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), but some airlines require that you present a confirmed booking before they allow you to board the plane.
  3. Be ready with a pen because you will also fill out declaration forms during your flight.
  4. Once the plane lands at NAIA, personnel from the Bureau of Quarantine will board the plane to take the passengers’ body temperature.
  5. When you get off the plane, you will go inside the airport for another body temperature. Proceed to the Department of Tourism desk to confirm your hotel booking.
  6. You will then proceed to a designated waiting area. You will fill out an Affidavit of Undertaking, and verify your hotel booking. If you have not booked a hotel at this point, you can approach any hotel representative. Have the representative sign your affidavit.
  7. At the designated area, you will arrange for your transportation to get to the quarantine facility. You will be given a color-coded sticker that indicates the transportation of your choice. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to get a Grab taxi or private transportation.

The sticker codes are red for pre-arranged hotel transfer, blue for shuttle/ van, yellow for a metered taxi, and green for coupon taxi.

color coded for shuttle
Screengrab: Chico Amadeo YouTube channel
  1. On the next table is where you will pay Php 4,000 for the RT-PCR test. You can pay this in peso or dollars, and you can also use your digital wallet if you have any.
  2. You will be given three barcode stickers that you will put in your passport. You will also get a sticker that certifies your booking with a hotel. Another sticker will certify that you have paid for the swab test.
  3. After clearing with immigration, you can proceed to your shuttle and go to the quarantine hotel.
  4. During quarantine, you will not be allowed to leave the facility. But if you need assistance with anything, you can ask the hotel staff to help you. keep in mind that they are not allowed to get inside your room, as per protocol.
  5. On your 5th day of quarantine, health personnel will go to the facility to take your swab sample.
  6. The RT-PCR test result will be sent by email. If your result is negative, you can leave the facility. Request a copy of the quarantine certificate and print out of swab test. The hotel staff can print it for you.
  7. Total expenses at the quarantine hotel can go from Php 15,000 – 20,000.
  8. You will shoulder the transportation costs to get home. On the other hand, if you live nearby, your relatives can pick you up.
  9. Confirm with your LGU regarding the quarantine procedures.

According to Mr. Amadeo, protocols vary per LGU. For instance, some require that the returnee undergoes two-week quarantine. Also, some LGUs will request another swab test. Furthermore, some LGUs will not shoulder the transportation costs.

Returning kababayans can ask their relatives back home for updates on the LGUs before the flight. This will avoid confusion and delay.

You can watch the full video here:

We hope this guide can be of great help to those who want to go home to the Philippines during the pandemic. Stay safe!

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