Have you also seen a returning Filipino worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) at the airport?
Senator Pia Cayetano is wondering if this is another requirement when traveling in and outside the country.
According to the Senator in a privilege speech, she was shocked to see several groups of Filipinos who were wearing PPEs at the airport. Later on, she was told that those individuals were Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
“I’d like to point out that they are in complete PPE, including the footsies (shoe covers) that you only see in operating rooms. It’s like the height of ridiculousness that you have to wear those footsies because they are walking around the whole airport where thousands of people enter, walk around every day, so there is nothing hygienic about being in footsies, as opposed to being in their regular rubber shoes or walking shoes,” says Cayetano.
“Tingnan niyo naman…may gloves pa. Nakakaiyak. And then may face shield pa (Look at them, Mr. President, they even wear gloves. It’s emotional. And they also wear face shields),” she added.
Cayetano already alerted the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and they are looking into it already. The photos were taken at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on August 23, 2022.
Furthermore, the senator pointed out several countries that have lifted their COVID-19 protocols including the requirement of RT-PCR test results and the wearing of face shield.
“In the UAE, the requirement is as follows: vaccination certificate containing a QR code. They are not required to present a negative result of an RT-PCR test for COVID,” Cayetano said.
“Wala na ngang PCR test na required ipakita, tapos may PPE papunta doon (You’re not even required to show a PCR test, but they are wearing PPE). To be clear, hindi po ako 100 percent sure kung saan sila papunta (I’m not a hundred percent sure where they are going), but I am sure most of our OFWs go to these areas. So you know, we can kind of assume that some of these pictures I have shown, their (OFWs) destination, is one of these areas,” she added.
This protocol is also the same when travelling to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. “Wala akong nakikitang nakalista dito na naka-full PPE sila (I don’t see anything in the list where they are required to wear full PPE), your honor,” the senator said.
Cayetano pointed out the discomfort of wearing a PPE and OFWs had to go through with it.
“I am not sure what the protocols are now, but our OFWs are wearing it when they travel. Ang hirap kaya magbanyo na ganyan ang suot mo. Isipin na lang natin yun, dun pa lang (It’s so hard to go to the bathroom when you wear something like that. Think about it). And I wonder how much they were charged to comply with whoever’s requirement this is,” she said.