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More stranded Filipinos in Hong Kong fly home today

06 July 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

The departing OFWs pose for a photo after being helped at the check-in counters, and fed ahead of their morning flight.

A group of 147 stranded Filipino workers returned home this morning, Jul 6, after toughing it out in Hong Kong for some time due to repeated flight cancellations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest batch to fly back to the Philippines through the help of the Consulate left at 7:20am aboard CX Flight 907.

Earlier, at least other two batches of stranded workers left aboard the same Cathay flight after registering with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, with their plane tickets being paid for by their employers.

“Today’s repatriation happened at 7 am. 147 left. The next one will be on 8 July,” Consul General Raly Tejada said in response to an online query.

“It’s an effort by the PCG in coordination with the Philippine government to bring home our workers,” Congen Tejada said.

Around 150 more overseas Filipino workers are reportedly booked for the Wednesday flight.
The workers who departed today were seen off at the Hong Kong International Airport by Consul Paulo Saret, head of the assistance to nationals section, along with other PCG staff.

Consul Saret earlier said 30 of the would-be passengers on today’s flight had backed out, apparently after Hong Kong Immigration announced that terminated workers would be allowed a further one month’s extension on their visas.

The first batch to return home was a group of 80 stranded workers who flew out on Jun 6. This was followed by a bigger group of 120 workers who left on Jun 9.  
The workers had previously booked tickets with either Cathay or Hong Kong Airlines, but were unable to leave because of flight cancellations. Hearing of their plight, the Consulate worked with Cathay in getting a big number to fly together on a confirmed flight to Manila.

On reaching the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, they were met by OWWA staff who helped them get through the mandatory swab testing and transfer to quarantine centers.
The stranded Filipinos at Bangkok airport before their flight to Manila (DFA photo)
 Also this morning, 232 Filipinos made up of migrant workers and tourists who were stranded in Thailand, left Bangkok Airport on a Philippine Airlines flight.
The repatriation was facilitated by the Philippine Embassy in Thailand in partnership with Filipino community leaders and PAL, a government press release said.

The repatriates, who included an infant, several children and four senior citizens, brought to 966 the number of Filipinos flown home from Thailand.

With the Covid-19 pandemic leading to abrupt cancellations of scheduled commercial flights, many overseas Filipinos are relying on chartered repatriation flights to bring them home to their loved ones.
Last weekend, a total of 588 overseas Filipinos from Japan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia arrived in Manila, bringing the total number of repatriated Filipinos since February to 68,440.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the returnees flew home on two separate flights on Saturday. They included 204 tourists, students and workers stranded across Japan. The rest were all OFWs from Saudi Arabia.

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