Finally home for 183 Stranded Filipinos in Malaysia

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DAVAO CITY —The Philippine Embassy in Malaysia sent home 183 Stranded Filipinos in Malaysia. The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur sent off a total of 183 Filipinos stranded in Malaysia on 28 April 2020 through mass repatriation it organized with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila.

Ferried via a Philippine Airlines chartered flight that departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the repatriated Filipinos were composed of Filipino tourists and OFWs who sought for the Embassy’s assistance after being stranded due to the unexpected cancellation of flights which started on 18 March 2020, along with the implementation of restriction and measures both by the Malaysian and Philippine government to stem the spread of COVID-19.

“The Embassy remains strongly committed to assisting Filipinos in distress, especially those who were severely impacted by the spread of COVID-19,” Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Charles C. Jose assured. “This includes helping our kababayans get home safely,” he added.

The chartered flight, which was fully funded by the Philippine Government, was made possible through the efforts of the Philippine Embassy and the DFA. Due to this, the Filipino repatriates, most of whom were already experiencing financial difficulties due to unexpected prolonged stay in Malaysia, did not have to pay for their return airfare.“Thank you po sa pag-assist at makasama na ako pauwi ng Pilipinas (Thank you for the assistance and for including me on the flight back to the Philippines),” said Mr. Rene Burgos, an overseas Filipino, as he queued to check in on his flight.

“Nagpapasalamat kami (We are thankful) because you gave us hope, and we feel that the Embassy and the government are really there for us, so it’s very big gratitude from us,” said another stranded Filipino who requested to be unnamed for privacy reasons.“Gusto ko pong magpasalamat sa Philippine Embassy, dahil nung nag-try kaming humingi ng tulong sa kanila, mabilis kaming inaksyunan. Hindi po kami nila pinabayaan hanggang sa pag-request namin ng shelter at sa foods, pati po sa flight namin, sila po ang tumulong sa amin (I would like to thank the Philippine Embassy because when we tried to ask for help, they quickly took action. They did not leave us, from the shelter and food we requested, as well as our flight, they helped us),” said one of the Filipina repatriates from Johor Bahru, who will be coming home with her two children.

While queueing for check-in, the repatriates were provided face masks by the Embassy team assisting them at the airport. Breakfast packs were also distributed by the Philippine Embassy-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration team. Upon disembarkation at NAIA, they too were subjected to a mandatory health assessment by the Department of Health-Bureau of Quarantine (DOH-BOQ).

The said mass repatriation follows an earlier effort on 05 April when 83 stranded Filipinos were able to board a “special flight” from Kuala Lumpur to Manila as co-organized by the Philippine Embassy, DFA, and the Malaysian Embassy in Manila.

The PAL plane used for the chartered flight carried back 123 stranded Malaysians in the Philippines on its journey from Manila to Kuala Lumpur for the repatriation.

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