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100 OFWs flown home as flight ban from Manila takes effect

20 April 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The airlift to Manila today was arranged by the Consulate, as was this flight in June last year

A total of 100 overseas Filipino workers were flown home today, Apr 20, just hours after a two-week flight ban imposed by Hong Kong on the Philippines took effect.

The information was disclosed by Consul Paul Saret, head of the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section, who also said the Philippine Airlines plane that flew home the passengers had arrived from Manila loaded with just cargo.


The two-week suspension on all flights coming from the Philippines, India and Pakistan was announced by Hong Kong just a day before it took effect, and was imposed after the first two local cases of variant-carrying patients were found.  Local health officials said this was because the biggest number of imported cases found to carry the mutated virus had come from the three countries.


Saret said the flight carrying the stranded Filipino workers was booked earlier by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and was arranged by the Consulate directly with the airline.

The PAL plane landed earlier than its expected arrival time in Hong Kong of 9:55 this morning, according to the Hong Kong International Airport flight information website.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Two other cargo flights were also shown to have flown in from Manila today, one operated by Cebu Pacific and another by Hong Kong Airlines. It was not known if they had flown back to Manila with passengers, which is allowed despite the flight ban.

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Saret said the next PAL special flight for Manila will be on Apr 23, and it will also carry exactly 100 passengers, the maximum number allotted by the airline for its Hong Kong flights.

Philippine officials have limited the number of arrivals at Manila airport amid a surge in infections

Philippine authorities have limited the number of daily arrivals from abroad to just 1,500, since Mar 31, in an attempt to decongest the airport and prevent an overflow of people in designated quarantine facilities amid a surge in local infections.


Saret said the PCG has asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to request PAL for an extra 150 seats for Hong Kong to bring home more stranded OFWs, with priority to the sick.

He said no OFWs were stranded at the Hong Kong airport this time because they had been forewarned of the flight ban. In the past months, last-hour airline flight cancellations had marooned dozens of homeward-bound OFWs.


Edwina Antonio, executive director of Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge, said at least two migrant workers have asked for help because they could not book flights after being told by Hong Kong Immigration to go home.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong 

She advised them to talk to Immigration again so their visas could be extended until they could arrange for a flight home despite the ban.




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