By Marjaleen Ramos
More than 10,000 Filipino seafarers are expected to arrive in the country as their repatriation has started, a crew service agency said Tuesday.
“Dahil ang cruise ship po ay huminto ang operation, kailangan po iuwi ang ating mga manggagawa,” Magsaysay Maritime Corp. Chairman Marlon Rono said in an interview with DZMM Teleradyo.
“Nag-uumpisa na po ang repatriation. Asahan po natin sa darating na mga araw ay marami po ang uuwi diyan,” he added.
Rono said that Filipino seafarers are in need of repatriation after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) stopped the operation of cruise ships worldwide.
He added that their crew agency are chartering commercial flights for the repatriation of the seafarers.
“They are floating in some areas. Alam mo naman ang cruise ship may sariling doctor, may sariling ospital. They are taken care of kung may symptoms na nangyayari,” Rono added.
“Ngayon ang problema po natin ay ang pagdating nila sa Pilipinas,” he stressed.
Rono also pointed out that the biggest problem is bringing the seafarers from Visayas and Mindanao home as there is a travel restriction in the country.
“Ang malaki pong problema natin sa sitwasyon ngayon ay ang pagbalik ng mga tiga probinsya gaya ng Visayas at Mindanao. Mahirap po natin mapa-uwi kasi suspended po ang travel. Kaya napipilitan po tayo na i-book sila sa mga hotel,” he said.
Rono, however, assured that soon as the situation normalizes, Filipino seafarers can go back to their jobs.