Returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will no longer have to spend 14-days in quarantine facilities, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) announced.

Under the new procedure released by OWWA, returning OFW can go straight to their homes after being tested negative from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

OFW arriving at airports will have to immediately undergo swab testing before going straight to the quarantine facilities while waiting for the result to come out.

“This will take approximately 3-5 days. If tested negative, they are allowed to go home,” said OWWA.

However, if a returning OFW’s swab test came out positive, they will be referred or endorsed to hospitals for proper care and medication.

Upon waiting for results, OWWA will continuously provide accommodation and food assistance for the OFW.

Once cleared, transportation assistance will also be provided with the help of the Department of Transportation.

“OWWA will shoulder costs for mercy flights and voyages to Visayas and Mindanao.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) announced the suspension of application for Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) program as funds were ‘nearly exhausted’ due to pending budget augmentation.

According to DoLE Director Rolly Francia, Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO) have already been notified through email.

So far, AKAP has already provided assistance to at least 140,000 OFWs.

AKAP is a program providing financial assistance to land-based and sea-based OFW displaced by the pandemic.