OWWA’s move is a big relief to manning agencies who already spent several billion pesos for the food, hotel accommodation, and transportation of their returning seafarers since the onset of the pandemic last March.
Leaders of JMG and the newly established Alliance of Licensed Manning Agencies (ALMA) earlier argued that if that situation would continue it could lead to the eventual demise of the nation’s multibillion-dollar manning sector.
They insisted that their principals, the employers of Filipino seafarers, would find them exorbitant if they continue to pay for their quarantine expenses unlike seafarers from other countries.
OWWA conceded to the need to subsidize partly the quarantine expenses of seabased workers.
In a letter to manning agencies, OWWA said it is “extending assistance to returning seafarers by shouldering the cost of hotel and food during the seafarers’ stay in a hotel for isolation while waiting for their RT-PCR swab test results.”
It should be noted that the manning agencies are still in-charge of the transport of the returning seafarers from the airport or seaport (Manila) to the hotels where they are booked for isolation while waiting for the RT-PCR swab test results.
Further, it added: “(A) Licensed Manning Agency (LMA) is required to submit a letter communication to OWWA requesting for hotel assistance for their repatriating/returning seafarers (to avail of the assistance).”
The letter should be sent “to OWWA at least 5-6 days prior the date of arrival of the returning seafarers to Manila.” The LMA’s letter / communication should be sent via email to:
Attention: Dir. Ronald Mina
Vice Chair- OWWA Team Hotel