By Analou de Vera
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has expressed readiness to arrange another repatriation flight for Filipinos in China’s Hubei province amid the continued spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD).
“Tayo po ay handa naman na magsagawa ng isa pang repatriation flight para po doon sa iba [We are ready to organize another repatriation flight for the others (who wish to come home)],” said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay in a press briefing Saturday.
“Ang utos po ng ating Pangulo at ni Secretary Locsin, lahat po ng gustong bumalik–voluntarily, hindi po ito sapilitan, maari po silang bumalik kung hindi po sila makasama dito sa batch na ito [The instruction of President (Duterte) and Secretary (Teodoro) Locsin, those who want to return here–voluntarily–they can, if they cannot make it in the (first) batch],” he added.
The first batch of repatriates are expected to arrive in the Philippines early Sunday and upon arrival, they will be taken to the Athlete’s Village in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac where they will undergo 14-day mandatory quarantine.
Dulay noted that many Filipinos in Hubei province still need to fix their immigration status. There are about 300 Filipinos working in the said area, according to the DFA.
“We just want to reiterate that Filipinos are free to come home, wherever they are. It just so happens that this part of China is on lockdown and they want to come home. But, any person who wants to come home can just go to the embassy and seek help,” said DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola.