The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported that more than 9,000 overseas Filipinos have so far returned to the country through the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) in Olongapo City.
In a report to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI-Clark International Airport (CIA) head supervisor Maan Krista Lapid-Legaspi disclosed that a total of 9,111 passengers arrived at the SBIA since July when the airport reopened to service special commercial flights from abroad.
All of the flights were conducted by Philippine Airlines to ferry overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other Filipinos who were stranded abroad due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our immigration officers in Clark are serving these Subic flights that arrive two to three times a week, each of which carries an average of 200 to 300 passengers,” Legaspi said.
She added that a total of 33 flights have already arrived in Subic from the time these repatriation flights started.
Legaspi said all of the repatriation flights came from from the Middle East, China and Palau.
Morente welcomed the opening of the SBIA, stating that it continues to serve as a hub that assists the arrival of thousands of OFWs who are eager to return home.
“We assure PAL and our stakeholders in Subic that our officers will always be available to process the passengers of these repatriation flights,” said Morente.
The Subic airport resumed international operations last July, after more than a decade of stoppage.
The government granted PAL’s request to mount flights at the former US naval base so it could serve as an alternative entry point for Filipinos wanting to return to the country amid the pandemic.