354 Pinoys repatriated from Jeddah

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DAVAO CITY — The Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah successfully repatriated another 354 Filipinos based in Jeddah and other parts of the Western Region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 03 July 2020 via a Philippine Airlines (PAL) chartered flight.

The chartered flight landed in Manila on 04 July 2020 at around 2:40 in the afternoon.

In a press statement, the DFA said repatriates were among the thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were economically displaced and got stranded in the Kingdom because of the COVID-19 crisis that continues to ravage the Saudi economy.

The Philippine Consulate in Jeddah originally intended to repatriate 353 OFWs in the said flight, but several passengers did not show up at the airport while nine were offloaded after their sponsors canceled their final exit visas.

The seats that were vacated by the no-shows and offloaded passengers were quickly filled up by 45 other OFWs on the waitlist.

These waitlisted passengers were brought by the Consulate to the airport in anticipation of no-shows and off-loaded passengers.

PAL gave one extra seat to accommodate a pregnant OFW, raising the total number of repatriates to 354 or a seat utilization rate of 100.28%.

Philippine Consul General to Jeddah Edgar B. Badajos said that the repatriation of distressed OFWs in Jeddah and the Western Region of Saudi Arabia is part of the Philippine government’s firm commitment to bring home overseas Filipinos who would like to be repatriated amidst the economic crisis being experienced by many countries caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Philippine government continues to assist OFWs stranded in other countries whose financial means were affected by the economic crisis caused by COVID-19,” Consul General Badajos said.

Following Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s instructions to bring home OFWs who would like to be repatriated, the Consulate General immediately coordinated with the DFA-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs headed by Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola for the flight arrangements with PAL.

The Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah hopes to mount another chartered flight with PAL sometime in the third week of July. Meantime, Philippine civil aviation authorities have given the green light for more Saudia special commercial flights to land in Manila in parallel with the repatriation efforts of the Philippine government. –Newsline

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