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‘UAE is a phase I will never forget’: OFW shares experience leaving the country, going back to PH

One of the Overseas Filipino Workers in the UAE, who was able to finally come home after months of cancelled flights, shared her account on what to expect when going back to the Philippines while reminiscing her wonderful memories of the Gulf state.

Daneli Caesa Robedillo, 28, said that after four years in the country, she has decided to come home for good given the current situation caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I went to the UAE without any assurance of a home or career improvement, but I was fortunate to have been able to get the best professional opportunities I could hope for,” she recalled.

“However, after four years, I think it is about time to come home, and it felt right,” she added, noting that the decision was stemmed from her constant worries about her family in the Philippines.

She said that she had decided to come home months prior to be with her family amidst this crisis, and that she started looking for flights as soon as the airports reopened.

“Since nagkaroon ng COVID-19 pandemic, I always worry about being here alone and also about my family in the Philippines. Even businesses have closed down, so I though it was better to just go home,” she said, adding that “UAE is a phase I won’t ever forget.”

Robedillo also shared her account on the process of going home, from booking flights to undergoing mandatory quarantine.

After several cancelled flights, she opted to book a chartered flight through a travel agency, and she was able to fly home on July 1, landing at Ninoy Aquino International Airport on July 2.

Prior to her departure, she said she filled out the forms on OASIS (http://oasis.owwa.gov.ph/) and Philippine Red Cross (https://e-cif.redcross.org.ph/). These forms will be asked at the airport and returning Filipinos must present both documents for a smoother and faster process.

Afterwards, they were briefed on the needed procedure for safety precautions – from swab testing to quarantine.

After Robedillo’s swab test was taken, she was then identified based on three classifications: Land-based OFW, Sea-based OFW, and Tourists.

As a land-based OFW, she said the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) shouldered her quarantine accommodation and food expenses.

As for sea-based OFWs, she was told their expenses will be covered by their manning agency, while tourists and students have to shoulder their own expenses, but with assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Tourism.

Afterwards, Robedillo was brought to her hotel while awaiting test results. She stayed there until afternoon of July 8 and was able to leave right after she got her negative results.

“The accommodation’s front desk will let you leave if you present a screenshot of your negative results,” she said, adding that the results can be checked at https://redcross.com.ph/verify.

Once the results are given, Robedillo said she contacted her OWWA coordinator, who arranged for her transfer back home.

“Sa part nang pag-uwi sa probinsya natagalan ako, kaya better magbaon ng madaming pasensya at matuto pa din magpasalamat sa gobyerno kasi hindi ka naman nila pababayaan,” she said.

She left the accommodation at 1 PM, and she left the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange for Lucena, Quezon at 10 PM, because she had to wait for the negative COVID-19 certificate to be printed and handed over. All returning Filipinos will also be registered per region before a bus can be provided.

When she got to Lucena at 1 AM, she was registered by their city health officer.

“Work in progress pa din ang Sistema, pero noong umuwi ako I can say na better siya compared sa naunang batch ng mga OFW na umuwi during the previous months,” she said.

Watch her full video of her experience here:

SEE ALSO: ‘Pilipinas, sa wakas!’: Pinay expat shares journey from UAE to PH

Jamille Domingo-Marasigan

Jamille Domingo-Marasigan gathers stories on a wide array of topics, particularly on the Philippines, UAE, Saudi, and Bahrain—which are published on The Filipino Times Newspaper, The Filipino Times Website, and The Filipino Times Newsletter. She also presents the news on cam in the pre-recorded daily broadcast of The Filipino Times Newsbreak—a run-through of the most important events of the day, reaching 5,000 to 20,000 views—to deliver stories to audiences inclined to audio-visual content online. For recommendations and story pitches, you can reach her at [email protected]

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