An additional 425 stranded and displaced Filipinos were successfully flown home in two separate chartered flights from Kuala Lumpur and Brussels, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.
Onboard the two flights that arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Thursday, July 23, were land-based workers, students, tourists, and seafarers affected by the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic.
The Philippine government has so far repatriated about 98,000 Filipinos from all over the world, mostly land and sea-based OFWs, following the outbreak of COVID-19.
The figures continue to go up every day as the Philippine government continues in its efforts to bring home displaced Filipinos from abroad who were displaced due to certain travel restrictions and the non-availability of flights in various countries and regions.
The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur said the chartered Cebu Pacific flight included not only passengers from different states in Peninsular Malaysia but also Filipinos from Sabah and Sarawak.
In the last four months, Ambassador Charles Jose said the Embassy has already facilitated the safe return of 1,082 stranded Filipinos in Malaysia.
“We will continue to exert all possible efforts to help our kababayans return home to their families,” Jose said.
He added that the latest chartered flight is the third mass repatriation conducted by the Embassy and the DFA where repatriated Filipinos did not have to pay for their tickets — an immense relief to those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Upon disembarkation at NAIA, the passengers will be subjected to a mandatory health assessment and COVID-19 test by the Department of Health-Bureau of Quarantine (DOH-BOQ) before heading to their designated quarantine facilities.
In Brussels, the Philippine Embassy assisted the repatriation of 74 Philippine seafarers and one Belgian seafarer married to a Filipino national. The seafarers were stationed aboard 11 different ships before they boarded their chartered nonstop flight via Air Belgium to the Philippines at the Brussels South Charleroi Airport on July 22.
All seafarers tested negative for COVID-19 before they boarded their flight, according to the Embassy.
An official from DEME NV Human Resource (HR) Manager (Maritime), employer of the Filipino seafarers, praised the group’s professionalism and hoped that DEME NV will again have an opportunity in the near future to work with the Filipino OFWs.