MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) on Wednesday started transporting home some of the 30 Filipino tourists and overseas workers it earlier repatriated from India and Sri Lanka, where they were stranded due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, PN public affairs office chief, said in a statement that the repatriates have already completed the required quarantine period aboard the BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) and have been found negative of Covid-19 in swab tests conducted upon their arrival last week.

“The transportation of some repatriates from LD-602 moored at Pier 15 in South Harbor, Manila was in coordination with their local government units. One of the repatriates was brought to Villamor Airbase in Pasay City to take the sweeper flight of (the) Philippine Air Force’s C-130 aircraft to Davao City while another one was taken to the airport for a commercial flight, also to Davao. Others were fetched by their relatives,” she said.

The 30 repatriates – 18 from India and 12 from Sri Lanka — were given a ride home after the BRP Davao Del Sur and the offshore patrol vessel BRP Ramon Alcaraz fetched a donation of 200,000 pieces of face mask from a Filipino businessman based in India.

The two ships comprise the Naval Task Force 82 (NTF 82) deployed to Oman last January as a contingency measure in case a massive evacuation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) would be needed following tensions between the United States and Iran.

The tension eventually eased off but the Covid-19 contagion that began to sweep across the globe prompted the NTF 82 to go on another mission of transporting the donation of face masks and the stranded Filipinos.

The NTF 82 arrived in Manila Bay on June 12 in time for the celebration of the 122nd anniversary of Philippine independence. (PNA)