Sunday, 28 June 2020 21:20

Government Ensures Migrant Workers Return to Their Hometowns Safely

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Government ensures migrant workers return to their hometowns safely

Head of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Protection Agency (BP2MI) Benny Rhamdani. ANTARA/screen shot of BNPB YouTube channel/sh

The Indonesian government would facilitate Indonesian migrant workers to return to the country in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that they would reach their hometowns safely, the Indonesian Migrant Workers Protection Agency (BP2MI) said.

Head of the BP2MI Benny Rhamdani  in a statement here on Sunday noted that the agency had worked closely with related institutions such as the Directorate General of Immigration, Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Task Force for Acceleration of COVID-19 Handling, the military and police, and the Transportation Ministry, to ensure that the workers could return to their hometowns safely.

"We have treated migrant workers as VVIP citizens, in the form of best service and protection," Rhamdani said in a discussion aired through the YouTube channel of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

Rhamdani said that he was mandated by President Joko Widodo to give protection to the workers.

He elaborated that migrant workers would have to follow the health protocols for the handling of the new coronavirus, prior to their return to Indonesia. A swab test for the COVID-19 is required to ensure that they are not contracted the virus, and obtain a health certificate from local health authority.

The swab test could be conducted in their origin countries or upon their arrival in Indonesia.

Those who conduct the test in Indonesia, would have to be placed under quarantine while waiting for the result of the swab test.

Migrant workers who are tested negative for the COVID-19 could continue to return to their hometowns, while those who are tested positive must have further medical treatment and be isolated.

According to Rhamdani, the agency has repatriated 162 thousand migrant workers during the pandemic, while some 50,114 others will have their working contract expire and have to return to the country.

In addition, the agency has received 222 bodies of migrant workers who died of various causes, back to the country.

"As of today, we have received 222 bodies. We provide free ambulance to transport them back to their hometowns," he said.

The migrant workers are among major contributors to Indonesia's foreign exchange income, with forex earning in 2019 reached Rp159.6 trillion from the workers.

Meanwhile, head of the law enforcement unit of the COVID-19 task force First Admiral R Eko said, the government has prepared Batam on Riau Island, Jakarta and Bali as entry gates for the returning migrant workers and for their quarantine.

"We secure and monitor (the return of migrant workers). We monitor them since the plan to return them to Indonesia, the swab test, quarantine, until they reach their hometowns," Eko said. (ANTARA)

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