Boracay starts repatriating stranded workers

Published April 28, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY – Workers, who have been stranded in the world famous Boracay Island in Malay town, Aklan province, are starting to gradually head home.

Mayor Frolibar Bautista (right) of Malay town, Aklan province sends off the first batch of workers who had been repatriated from Boracay Island, the country’s most popular beach destination. (LGU Malay / via Tara Yap / MANILA BULLETIN)
Mayor Frolibar Bautista (right) of Malay town, Aklan province sends off the first batch of workers who had been repatriated from Boracay Island, the country’s most popular beach destination. (LGU Malay / via Tara Yap / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The first batch of stranded workers left. They have been reunited with their families,” Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista told The Manila Bulletin in a phone interview.

The local government of Malay has been facilitating the repatriation of stranded workers in Boracay, which has been direly affected by travel restrictions and business shutdowns caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

There were more than 1,200 stranded workers who sought assistance from the Public Employment Services Office of Malay. But Bautista said the actual number could be higher.

First to be repatriated were workers coming from other towns of Aklan province, which were geographically closer. Repatriation will then include workers coming from the rest of Panay Island, which includes Antique, Capiz and Iloilo provinces, as well as Iloilo City.

Bautista said a system has been put in place to make the repatriation a success, including issuance of health clearances while getting permission from local governments where the workers are from to allow them passage.

“If they cannot be allowed to enter at their borders, then they will be stuck because they can no longer re-enter Boracay,” Bautista explained.

Meanwhile, Bautista called on fellow mayors to coordinate with the Malay local government if their constituents were among Boracay’s stranded workers.

“Some of these stranded workers don’t go to us directly, but seek help from local governments where they are from. We are willing to help them get home,” Bautista added.

 
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