By Alex San Juan Thirteen Filipino students who are studying and doing internships in Vietnam, Japan, and the United Kingdom were safely repatriated to the Philippines amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said.
Students from Aklan State University (ASU) and Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU) (CHED / MANILA BULLETIN)
Among them were five hospitality management students of the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU) who are currently interns in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
The students returned to La Union and are now staying at a temporary quarantine facility for 14 days before returning to their respective residences. Meanwhile, five Aklan State University (ASU) students who were in Hokkaido, Japan for an internship also arrived on March 26. They were brought to their temporary accommodation also for a self-quarantine protocol. Earlier this week, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) reported that three of its faculty or staff members who are research scholars at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom also flew in from Heathrow Airport on March 17. Upon arrival in Manila on March 18, they were driven to their homes or temporary residences to start their 14-day self-quarantine period. CHED Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III said the Commission has been coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Health (DOH) to update them of the repatriated students’ status as persons under monitoring. “I would like to thank DFA Secretary Teddyboy Locsin for ordering our foreign posts to provide assistance to our returning students. I also commend the officials of ASU, DMMMSU, and UPLB for their efficient tracking of their students who are abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic and working with CHED, DFA, and DOH so they can be reunited with their families," De Vera said in a statement. De Vera also lauded the respective local government units for their efforts in helping the students. He advised other state universities and colleges to monitor their students who are still abroad and coordinate with the Commission for immediate assistance. "In these extremely challenging times, the good news that we are able to bring our students home is a testament that the Filipino 'bayanihan' spirit is alive and well. The Commission will not stop until all stranded Filipino students are safely reunited with their families," he added.