MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) assured overseas Filipinos of continued assistance amid the announcement that all international airports in the Philippines will be closed from May 3 to 10.
DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said as of May 3, approximately 20,000 overseas Filipino workers are undergoing mandatory quarantine in Metro Manila.
“To date, the DFA has facilitated the repatriation of 24,422, of which 16,936 are seafarers and 7,486 are land-based workers,” she said.
She assured that the repatriation of distressed Filipinos would resume once the suspension is lifted.
Arriola advised Filipinos returning to the Philippines who have been affected by the temporary closure of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and needing assistance to contact the nearest Philippine Embassy or consulate where they are currently located.
Their contact details may be accessed through the OFW Help Facebook page and DFA website.
“The DFA, through its over 90 Philippine embassies and consulates abroad, stands ready to assist stranded OFWs due to the temporary closure of the airport,” Arriola said.
Arriola advised those affected to contact their airlines for information on the resumption of its service and subsequent rebooking of their flights to the Philippines.
The National Task Force Against Covid-19 temporarily restricted flight operations at the NAIA and all other international airports in the country except for the following: emergencies while en route; cargo flights; air ambulance and medical supplies flights; weather mitigation flights; and maintenance flights.
NTF Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said sweeper flights for foreign nationals repatriating back to their respective countries would still be allowed. All domestic air arrivals and departures at the NAIA will remain suspended.
“The decision to temporarily close the airports for international flights is meant to decongest our quarantine facilities to protect our people from the further spread of Covid-19 and also to ensure that our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are well taken care of when they arrive from abroad,” Galvez said.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) added that international flights wishing to land and depart must request exemption with the CAAP OPCEN at least 36 hours before the scheduled departure from their place of origin. (ia/DFA)