Stranded at sea: Fresh batch of Filipino workers set to fly home this week

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2020 12:06 PM

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MANILA - A fresh batch of Filipino repatriates will arrive this week from China, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday, amid difficulties in repatriating Filipino seafarers stranded in ships in other countries.

The agency is coordinating with China on getting home a group of Filipino seamen stranded off Dongshan, Zhanghou City as the country has yet to allow foreigners to disembark as a precaution against COVID-19, according to DFA Undersecretary Brigido Dulay.

"Ang nagiging challenge namin dito sa mga nasa Dongshan ay ito po kasing China ay hindi pa po nagpapababa. Bawal pa po ang foreigners na pumasok ng China," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(The challenge in Dongshan is China does not allow foreigners to disembark and enter the country.)

"May inaayos na po kami na repatriation flight para sa darating na linggo sana po masama na sila doon. Patuloy po ang pakikipag-ugnayan natin sa China para lang payagan sila mag-disembark."

(We are working on a repatriation flight this coming week and hopefully they will be included there. We continue to coordinate with China to allow them to disembark.)

The DFA earlier used a ship to gather a batch of Filipino seafarers who were also stranded and brought them home to the Philippines, he added.

"Ito po kasi nasa ibang lugar sila at nahirapan po kami na madala po 'yung vessel, ayaw pong gumalaw ng vessel sa meeting point kaya ang ginawa po ng aming konsulada po doon nagpadala ng grocery," he said.

(This ship is in a different area and we are finding it difficult as the vessel does not move towards our meeting point. What we do is send them groceries.)

A total of 200,431 OFWs have been repatriated as of September 13 and another 80,000 are expected to go home within the year, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said.