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Consulate helps 120 more stranded OFWs to fly to Manila

10 June 2020

By Daisy CL Mandap

Some of the 120 OFWs who managed to fly home today after getting help from the Consulate 
(photos by Suzette Bagatua)

A second batch of Filipino domestic workers who were stranded in Hong Kong because of flight cancellations flew to Manila early today, Jun 9, after getting help from the Consulate.

According to Deputy Consul General Germinia Usudan who led the team that saw off the group at Hong Kong International Airport, there were 120 OFWs out of the 225 Filipinos who boarded flight CX 907 which departed at 7:20 am.

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DCG Usudan was accompanied by other staff of the Consulate at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, who helped the OFWs to check in their bags, and stayed until the repatriates were all cleared to board.

This is the second big group of stranded OFWs who managed to leave for home after getting stuck in Hong Kong due to repeated flight cancellations.

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The first group of 80 OFWs took the same early-morning CX flight on Jun 6, and were sent off by a large contingent from the Consulate, led by Consul General Raly Tejada.

Congen Tejada said then that the Consulate helped coordinate with the airlines to get a fixed schedule for the departing OFWs, many of whom got stuck because of repeated flight cancellations by Cathay and Hong Kong Airlines.
He said the passengers were a mix of those with cancelled bookings and those who had booked for future flights.
DCG Usudan (second from left) and Consulate staff who assisted the returning OFWs

Unlike in other mass repatriations carried out by the government in various posts abroad, the tickets of the OFWs in Hong Kong were paid for by their respective employers.

Other big groups of Filipino repatriates had been flown home from different countries at various times in the past after they appealed to the government for help.

All were stuck in their jobsites for months, jobless and with cash running out, either because of lockdowns or travel restrictions.

The latest group of OFWs to be flown home at government expense was made up of 181 OFWs who were repatriated today from Indonesia.

OFWs repatriated from Indonesia are welcomed by DFA staff in Manila

In the Philippines, inbound travel was also suspended for a time because of the huge number of OFWs who got  stuck in quarantine centers for up to two months while waiting for their Covid-19 test results. 

The facilities had to be cleared first before Ninoy Aquino International Airport was reopened to incoming flights.

Up to half a million OFWs, many of them sea-based, are expected to lose their jobs abroad as a result of the pandemic.

In Hong Kong alone, nearly 7,000 Filipino domestic workers have lost their jobs since February, when the coronavirus swept across the city.

OFW numbers declined the most between March and April, when more than 3,000 lost their jobs.

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