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Filipinos from Timor-Leste and Australia return

More Filipinos return from Australia and Timor-Leste

MANILA – Nearly 250 Filipinos left Australia and Dili in Timor Leste after the Department of Foreign Affairs chartered two special Philippine Air Lines flights from Sydney and Melbourne yesterday.

Over in Dili, the Philippine Embassy organized a humanitarian flight to bring home overseas Filipinos, those without work and with economic difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The chartered Pan Pacific Airlines Airbus lft Nicolau Lobato International Airport last Monday and among the passengers were 35 Filipinos, four Japanese, 10 South Koreans and an American national.

Philippine Ambassador to Timor-Leste Abdulmaid K. Muin said among the passengers were tourists affected by the cancelled flights when the “state of emergency” was declared in the country, overseas Filipino senior citizens with underlying health problems, some of whom without maintenance medicines as they were unavailable locally and displaced workers whose visas expired.

Meanwhile, in Australia, a total of seven special flights have brought Filipinos home since March. It will be recalled Australia implemented tight travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Philippine Air Lines operated three special flights from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, on April 19, and two special flights from Sydney and Melbourne last April 29. These flights brought about 400 Filipinos from Australia.

The Philippine Embassy assisted by the Philippine Consulates in Australia and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Canberra worked for the repatriation of Filipino seafarers. Nine seafarers from Perth returned to Manila last May 21,2020.

The Australian Embassy in Manila and PAL organized the flights from Manila that made possible the specially arranged departures from Australia.

Filipinos board the chartered Pan Pacific flight from Dili, Timor-Leste as Filipinos from Australia prepare for their departure via Philippine Air Lines special flight. (DFA Photos)

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