It is not true that returning overseas Filipinos are persuaded to opt with private providers for their reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test upon arriving in the country, the head of the NAIA one-stop shop said Tuesday.

08112020 OFW ROMERO 3 1024x683 - Returning Filipinos not talked into taking COVID-19 tests in private labs for higher fees— DOTr

Transportation Undersecretary Raul del Rosario clarified allegations circulating on social media that they are convincing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to take their tests for the coronavirus disease in private test providers in order to pay higher fees.

“Hindi po ito totoo,” del Rosario said in a statement.

“Ang bayad ng RT-PCR para sa OFWs ay pinapasan ng pamahalaan. Hindi kailangang magbayad ng OFW ng kahit na magkano para sa COVID-19 test sapagkat ang Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) ang nagbabayad nito para sa kanila (The RT-PCR test fee of OFWs is shouldered by the government. OFWs don’t need to pay any amount as OWWA pays it for them),” he stressed.  

The official further explained that non-OFWs may take their COVID-19 test in two private laboratories at the airport which would cost them P4,000.

The Philippine Airlines has partnered with a Detoxicare for those who will arrive at the Terminal 2 while those arriving at the Terminals 1 and 2 may take their tests at Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions, Inc. (PAGSS), which partnered with Laboratory Ph Airport Diagnostic Lab.

These laboratories’ operations are covered with a Memorandum of Agreement with the Task Group on Management of Returning Overseas Filipinos (TG MROF).

“Parehong P4,000 ang singil ng mga ito, ayon sa inaprubahan ng TG MROF, at nag-iisyu ng resulta sa loob ng 48 oras. Lahat ng transaksyon sa mga pribadong laboratoryo ay mayroong official receipts, properly accounted, naka-record at inire-report sa one-stop shop (Both laboratories charge P4,000 as approved by the TG MROF and they issue results within 48 hours. All transactions with the private laboratories have an official receipts, properly accounted, recorded, and reported at the one-stop shop),” Del Rosario said.

There are also extreme cases where OFWs can request for a swab test at the private laboratories for faster result and clearance. In these cases, Del Rosario said, the OFW may need to secure clearance from the OWWA first before getting tested at any of the two private providers.

The undersecretary also urged OFWs to report to them if they are being talked into getting the  services of private laboratories.

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