Here is the testimony of OFW kabayan Aimee Hazelle who went back to the Philippines through the second special chartered flight on July 5. Here is the step by step procedure she and her family experienced. Thank you, kabayan for sharing.
I’m sharing my experiences because many of you want to know what happens once you reach Manila. I landed in Manila morning of July 6 with other repatriates from Thailand through the second special chartered flight.
Here are helpful tips for those who are going home to the Philippines from Thailand.
- Upon arrival at Manila Airport, OFWs with children, PWDs, and pregnant women will be given priority in queueing for procedures in the airport.
- OFWs and their dependents will be covered by OWWA for their entire quarantine expenses. (though they asked if the spouse has a dependent visa). After the quarantine period, OWWA will assist OFWs and their families to their final destinations. The exact words of the coastguard was “Ihahatid po namin kayo hanggang makarating po kayo sa mga probinsya nyo”.
- The swab test is free of charge for all OFWs and their dependents. As per advice, results will come out 3 to 7 days depending on the number of inbound passengers who are on the list for results.
- In sending off to your hotels, there will be offers of sim cards for sale for 100 pesos when you get to your shuttle buses. (There are some selling Smart, Globe or TM sim cards. Better buy it from there because you will not be allowed to leave your hotel rooms. Shuttle buses are free of charge and accompanied by an OWWA representative.
- In our batch in Discovery Suite Hotel, couples were given separate rooms. If you have children, they stay with their mothers. You are not allowed to go to your spouse room for the entire quarantine period.
- Better pack your preferred personal necessities ahead of quarantine. Hotel charges extra for doing grocery for you. But the hotel provides necessities as well but just the very basic ones.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR EVERYONE:
- Before you fly to Manila, register first with the Red Cross online to have your QR code ahead because if you haven’t and if you don’t have an internet connection by the time you arrive in Manila, you will be really left behind far from everyone who has one already. (If you have one saved in your gallery already, procedures will be very smooth for you.
- Have your Baht changed to Dollars while in Thailand. Exchange rate is very low in Manila and also if you arrive very early in the morning, money changers are still closed. It will be hard to change your Baht to Peso once you are in quarantine.
- I found this one tip very helpful too in case you run out of cellphone battery in Manila. Have your QR code printed out and keep it with you. I did that and it came out very handy since my cell phone battery was already drained out from Thailand. It is very handy when you have a printed one.
- By the time the flight attendants give you all the loads of forms to fill while you are on your flight, fill it up straight away. Don’t wait until you get to Manila to fill it. By the time you deplane, one form is already needed by the airline for contact tracing. There were about 5 to 7 forms to be filled out altogether.
WHAT ABOUT THE SWAB TEST EXPERIENCE?
In my own experience, it was just a quick invasion of your nasal cavity. Just relax. It’s over before you know it. There are 2 SWAB TESTS, one nasal and one from your throat. Children and very young kids will be swabbed,too. NO EXEMPTION.
THE ENTIRE PROCEDURE IN MANILA AIRPORT
The procedure was amazingly smooth, in order, and fast. Kudos to the Philippine Government, OWWA, MIAA, Coastguard, and DSWD. We were clapping for an efficient procedure on our time early this morning. The entire procedure only lasted for an hour, I believe, and you get to your quarantine facilities.
- Upon arrival in Manila briefing before deplaning. All forms should be filled out and ready before deplaning.
- Everyone will gather in the briefing area with the coastguard and DSWD leading the instructions.
- Prepare your QR code from your Red Cross online application.(you should have one before leaving TH)
- Coastguard will check your forms and QR code.
- Children, pregnant women, elderly are priorities.
- Data gathering. A code will be attached to your passport for your swab result online.
- Swab test, one nasal and one throat.
- Proceed to get your luggage.
- OFWs line up for their hotel assignments. Non-OFWs line up to book their own hotels. OFWs and their dependents are all shouldered by OWWA, hotel accommodation and food for the entire stay.
- OFWs/Non-OFWs will be shuttled to their hotels.
- Check-in and waiting time for swab results, Manila 3 to 5 days max. You can check your results via Red Cross website that they will provide.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GET A NEGATIVE SWAB RESULT?
- Once you verify your result with the Red Cross through their website, you will receive an email with an attached PDF of your quarantine and result certificate. Save your PDF result in your phone.
- Once you receive a negative result, register to OWWA Uwian Na application (android Google play)
- Inform your hotel front desk of your negative swab result and email them your PDF certification.
- Once everything is in place, the hotel front desk will contact OWWA and the coastguard that you are ready to head home.
- OWWA will pick you up in your hotels and take you to:
- Luzon area – the OWWA shuttle bus will bring you to PITX to get your BOQ certificate to enable you to travel home. PITX has designated buses to different provinces in Luzon FOR FREE. Assisted and escorted by Coastguard.
- Visayas and Mindanao- The OWWA shuttle bus will bring you to NAIA 2 to fly you all home FOR FREE, even your dependents.
- When you arrive home, your provincial government will take care of you. Different protocols apply to different provincial governments. But still OWWA and PhilHealth will pay for everything, hotel and food, including your dependents.
- You will be paying for your own hotels. Quarantine facility is self-paid by non-OFWs.
- Swab test is free in Manila if you are on a special chartered flight because it is under the category of repatriation flight. Going home to your provinces needs to be communicated with the Department of Tourism for the availability of sweeper flights home. You will be given contact numbers of the Department of Tourism. Again, sweeper flights will be paid by you unless specified free by your provincial government.
Hope this provides a clear picture on what to expect when you get home! BE SAFE KABAYAN!
Photo: Aimee Hazelle with her family at Discovery Suits Hotel after their quarantine