470 hotels in NCR opened up for returning OFWs, essential workers during quarantine period

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 4) — Up to 470 hotels opened their doors in the capital region amid community quarantine to accommodate returning overseas Filipino workers and people working in essential industries, the Department of Tourism reported on Thursday.

This translates to some 56,871 rooms, DOT National Capital Region Director Woodrow Maquiling told a Laging Handa virtual briefing.

"As you may all know, under lockdown, hindi talaga pwede mag-operate ang tourism kasi walang leisure, di ba," Maquiling said. "But ang ating mga accommodation establishments, hotels, pension house, ay cinonvert po natin into quarantine facilities to heed the call of government to you know, help assist in this management of the pandemic," he explained.

[Translation: As you may all know, under lockdown, tourism (businesses) cannot operate because leisure (activities) are prohibited. But our accommodation establishments, such as hotels and pension houses, have been converted into quarantine facilities to heed the government's call to help assist in the management of the (COVID-19) pandemic.]

With this, Maquiling said the agency was able to ensure accommodation which helped the business establishments provide their employees work for the past eight weeks of quarantine.

"Apparently, majority of the hotels talagang nag-full capacity kasi ang daming dumating na mga returning overseas Filipinos," he disclosed. "In fact, around May 24, mga 41,664 rooms po ang occupied at that time.".

[Translation: Apparently, majority of the hotels went on full capacity because so many returning overseas Filipinos arrived. In fact, around May 24, 41,664 rooms were occupied at that time.]

OFWs occupied 47 percent of these rooms, while employees of BPOs (business process outsourcing) filled up 30 percent, he added.

A week after, which was the same deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte to bring 24,000 stranded OFWs home, the number of occupied rooms fell to 31,000 as most of them have been quarantined in these hotels.

As of Wednesday, 25,000 rooms have already been freed up, he added.