Philippine missions in UAE are prioritising their countrymen on visit/tourist visas who do not have any means at all to go back home.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
As the Duterte Administration is determined to repatriate all distressed overseas Filipinos (OFs) as a result of the pandemic, the Philippine missions in the UAE are prioritising their countrymen on visit/tourist visas who do not have any means at all to go back home.
Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Paul Raymund Cortes re-emphasised this through a group WhatsApp Philippine Press interview, following the debut of Manila’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)”Facebook (FB) OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) Helpline on Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. UAE time/2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Philippine time.
The Coronavirus 2019 DFA project is hosted by Undersecretary for Strategic Communications Ernesto Abella. Mainstay resource person is Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola. Cortes and Philippine Ambassador to Italy Domingo Nolasco were the first weekly featured guests.
Cortes and Nolasco highlighted their respective “One Country Team Approach.”
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Emirates Airlines announced its April 20, 22 and 24 to Manila-”only to citizens of the Philippines and those who meet the entry requirements of the destination.”
Abella and Arriola reiterated several times that Manila would definitely carry out free repatriation services. They urged all who could no longer cope to better return home and be with their families.
Arriola said that as of April 15, brought home were 11,579 seafarers and 3,127 land-based employees: “We already have scheduled flights for Filipinos in Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique and Cambodia. There are manifestations from Thailand and VietNam.”
In the consequent interview with Cortes regarding repatriation, he wrote: “We have about 900 (all over the UAE) who sent their names. Only about 200 were tourist/visit visa holders. The rest are resident visa holders who probably is on a furlough or no work/no pay scheme.”
“No, they have not been dropped by their companies but they have just been asked to go on a short leave. Clearly, that cannot be the responsibility of the Philippine government,” he added.
During the FB Live, Cortes gave an update on how the UAE government approaches and plateaus the pandemic aside from the outreach programs of both public and private individuals of various nationalities across the seven emirates particularly to those severely impacted.
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The health and safety of the DIFC community remains the utmost priority. The Centre will continue to enforce strict pre-cautionary measure as per Dubai and UAE Government guidelines to minimize the spread of COVID-19, including directives on hygiene, sanitisation, and social distancing.
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