DFA vows to help stranded Filipino workers due to airports closure
MANILA – Overseas Filipinos hoping to return to the Philippines at the soonest time will have to wait until the reopening of Philippine airports on Sunday, May 10,2020. In the meantime, they can reply on the Department of Foreign Affairs to help them in their country of origin.
In a statement released Monday midmorning, the DFA said with the National Task Force Against COVID-19 decided to temporarily restrict flight operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and other international airports except for emergencies when en-route, cargo flights, air ambulance and medical supplies flights, weather mitigation flights and maintenance flights.
It will be recalled Secretary Carlito Galvez wrote Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade over the weekend calling for the temporary suspension of international flights as the task force prepares more quarantine facilities and address logistics concerns.
Meanwhile, sweeper flights for foreign nationals returning to their respective countries will be allowed. All domestic air arrivals and departures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport will remain suspended.
Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola said there are about 20,000 Filipino workers undergoing the mandatory quarantine in Metro Manila. The DFA assisted in the repatriation of 24,422 persons, 16,936 of which are seafarers while the difference are land-based workers.
“The repatriation of distressed Filipinos will resume once the suspension is lifted,” Undersecretary Arriola said. Filipinos returning to the Philippines affected by the temporary closure and in need of assistance should contact the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate where they are located. Their contact details may be accessed through the OFW Help Facebook place and the DFA website.
She added those affected should contact their airlines for information on the resumption of their services and move for the flight’s rebooking to the Philippines. (Melo M. Acuña)
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola. (File Photo/Melo M. Acuna)