PH starts repatriation process; Filipinos with symptoms of nCoV will stay in China – DFA

Marje Pelayo   •   February 7, 2020   •   853

MANILA, Philippines – Repatriation of overseas Filipinos in China is underway following the arrival of the team from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Wuhan City, China who will work on the repatriation process.

Those who availed for repatriation will board a chartered flight from Hubei province in China to Clark International Airport in Pampanga expectedly on Saturday (February 8).

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, they will stay at the Athletes’ Village in New Clark City in Tarlac, the site designated as quarantine area for the repatriates as offered by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

“We convey our appreciation to the BCDA for coming forward to offer their facility,” Duque explained.

“(Number one,) it’s much more strategically located. Number two, the facilities are more complete. The ambiance is very nice. It’s well lit. It’s open space and so the rooms are with almost complete amenities with refrigerators, television. Individualized toilets which is very, very good unlike in Fort Magsaysay wherein they will have to share the toilets,” he said further.

The DFA revealed, however, that China has agreed with the Philippines on certain health protocols before allowing a repatriate to board on the chartered flight.

Anyone who would show symptoms or signs of novel coronavirus will not be allowed to leave.

They will stay in a Chinese Hospital for treatment.

“As they are required by the Chinese Health Commission, they are required to undergo another check before they board the plane,” clarified DFA Undersecretary Brigido Dulay.

“If they are found to be with a fever or any symptom of the nCoV, they will be taken by Chinese authorities (and bring them) to their hospitals, facilities for treatment and they will not be boarded,” he added.

So far, there are 45 repatriates or volunteer returnees scheduled to fly back to the Philipppines.

The DFA emphasized that the repatriation is not only a decision made by the Philippine government but it is also in coordination with Chinese authorities in consideration with China’s Immigration Laws.

Nonetheless, the DFA assured that the Chinese government is cooperating with the processing of the Filipino repatriates’ exit permits prior to their homecoming.

“We can receive applications now but so far we have not gotten any more than the 45,” Dulay said.

“So we’re waiting for any Filipino who want to come home from Wuhan. I just need to make sure it is in Hubei in Wuhan because that’s the area on lockdown can come home,” he added.

Medical staff, two doctors and three nurses, will be provided on board the chartered flight to assess the passengers.

“The crew won’t get off the plane. The passengers will board, and then the plane will come back here right away,” explained Health Spokesperson Eric Domingo.

“Of course, (they will be) in isolation and everybody will be wearing protective gear. They will ride a bus,” Domingo added of the process.

The medical staff will come from five hospitals just near the New Clark City namely:
-Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center
-Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga
-Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center in Cabanatuan City
-Talavera General Hospital in Nueva Ecija
-Mental Wellness and General Hospital in Mariveles, Bataan

Meanwhile, relatives will not be allowed for a welcome party neither they are allowed to visit the repatriates at New Clark City.

However, they will be provided with means for online communication.

The New Clark City has already been placed on lockdown in preparation for the arrival of the repatriates. MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

OFWs for repatriation decide to stay after getting COVID-19 vaccine shot – Bello

Marje Pelayo   •   January 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III reported that some overseas Filipino workers (OFW) have taken back their decision to fly home to the Philippines after getting a shot of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine.

Most of them who preferred to stay are OFWs in the Middle East.

Bello said they believe they would have greater chances to get another job since they were already vaccinated. 

“Mayroong mga almost about 100,000 who applied for repatriation. Iyon ang nire-repatriate pa natin,” Bello noted.

“Nabigla kami bilang mayroon siguro around 60% of those who asked for repatriation suddenly changed their minds and said, “No, hindi na kami uuwi”. Tinanong natin kung bakit, iyon pala na-vaccinate na sila,” he added.

The Department of Labor and Employment has, so far, logged around 420,000 repatriated overseas Filipinos since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around 60,000 OFWs are on queue for repatriation this year and the agency still has a P5-B fund for this from President Rodrigo Duterte. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

P70M worth of illegal goods seized in Parañaque City warehouse

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 21, 2021

PARAÑAQUE CITY, Philippines— Around P70 million worth of illegal goods were seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Tambo, Parañaque City on Monday (January 18).

A team consisting of members of the Port’s Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), Enforcement and Security Service (ESS), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) implemented the Letter of Authority (LOA) and inspected the subject warehouse.

The inspection resulted in the discovery of various smuggled Chinese cigarettes, Chinese medicines, prohibited surgical mask, foodstuff, footwear, garments, and other imported goods.

Further investigation and inventory are ongoing for further case build up and filing of charges.

400K OFWs sent home during pandemic — DOLE

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 20, 2021

Manila, Philippines — Over 400,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been sent home since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

As of January 16, the Labor Department records a total of 410,211 repatriates who have undergone quarantine and were cleared of COVID-19.

“After their ordeal in their country of origin, our dear OFWs were all provided accommodation, food, transportation, and cash assistance by the government. Now, they are safely home with their families,” DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.

The latest figures from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration showed that 8,273 OFWs were transported to their respective provinces last week.

An estimate of 60,000 to 80,000 more OFWs are expected to be repatriated this year, according to reports from the various Philippine Overseas Labor Offices of DOLE. AAC

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