DFA says 99 Filipinos stranded in Europe, South Africa
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said 99 Filipinos are stranded in Europe and South Africa due to the implementation of travel restrictions because of the threat of the COVID-19 Omicron strain.
During the ''Laging Handa'' virtual public briefing, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said 50 of the stranded Filipinos were monitored in Europe while 49 are in South Africa.
Arriola said there is a schedule of repatriation from the Netherlands on December 10 and 13 for Filipinos stranded in red list countries.
"There is scheduled this December 10, repatriation of the Philippines with OSM Maritime, a local manning agency from the Netherlands. And we are also fixing another schedule on December 13, again from the Netherlands," she said.
"We have to bring them together in the Netherlands before we can transport them. Our people should inform our embassies so that we can make arrangements, it should have an arrangement because you cannot ride just any aircraft," she added.
Arriola said most of the stranded are students, overseas Filipino workers and seafarers.
"Actually our post in the Netherlands and in Norway are coordinating with the Dutch airline company, which we will use for December 13. Most of the stranded are students and OFWs who have finished their contract. Of course we also have seafarers who have finished their contract," she said.
"This is a little bit more complicated so we need the cooperation of our people because they have to transfer from one country to another to be able to join the repatriation flight," said Arriola.
"Most of these are bayanihan special repatriation commercial flights because they are going to ride in commercial flights to be turned as bayanihan. But it’s the Philippine government that’s making an effort to organize these flights," he added. Robina Asido/DMS