Philippine missions send home 13 visit visa holders - GulfToday

Philippine missions send home 13 visit visa holders


The first group of Filipino visit visa holders in the UAE repatriated on Tuesday.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Filipinos on visit visas severely affected by the pandemic and have no means to cope may still apply for their free repatriation to their home country from the two Philippine missions in the UAE.

“Yes. We are continuously accepting applicants. We will never cease (helping our visit visa holders go back home),” Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Paul Raymund Cortes said.

Cortes was interviewed when he released on Tuesday afternoon through the Philippine Press WhatsApp Group details of the repatriation of the first 13 visit visa holders who had sought assistance either from the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi  (AUHPE) or the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai (PCGDXB) since April 14.

They were among the original 900 who had applied for repatriation, the guidelines of which were posted over the AUHPE and PCGDXB websites and through the media from April 14.

Out of the 900, 200 were found to be qualified. The 700 were discovered to be residents on a “no work-no pay scheme, not dropped by their companies but have been asked to go on a short leave and clearly not the responsibility of the Philippine government” as per UAE laws.

Funding of the return flights to Manila is sourced from the Php1 billion (Dhs73,191,151.50) budget Manila’s Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs-Assistance to Nationals (ATN) receives annually. The fund is allocated to all overseas Filipinos around the world badly in need of legal aid or financial assistance.

In relation to the Novel Coronavirus and in the UAE context, Philippine government officials determined that the beneficiaries are the visit/tourist visa holders who neither have family or relatives to support them and could no longer cope.

Cortes said there was no process of selection. But, as the respective ATN officers and staff of the two Philippine missions collate the requests, the applicants are interviewed and from there “we would know if they were really decided and really wanted to go home.”

The interviews are necessary as among other factors to be considered are “encumbrances like debts and police case.”

It is the Philippine missions which book for the earliest ticket and flight available.

Most of the first 13 were from Dubai. They were expected to land at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, Metro Manila at 10:10 p.m. (Philippine time) on Tuesday as they departed from the Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 on board Emirates Airlines (EK 334) at 9:30 a.m. (UAE time) also on Tuesday.

The 13 were assisted at the airport by the ATN people. Cortes said another 20 had been booked for the EK334 on April 30.

Meanwhile, Cortes said the Philippine e-Passport Renewal Centre (VFS) at Wafi Mall in Dubai already informed the two Philippine missions that they would re-open for services on April 30 from 12 noon to 8 p.m. “on an appointment basis to control physical distancing.”

“VFS will issue appropriate advisory soonest,” Cortes added.

Separately, the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday sent an aid plane containing 14 metric tons of medical and food supplies to Pakistan to bolster the country’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The aid will assist approximately 7,000 medical professionals as they work to contain the virus.

Commenting on the aid delivery, Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al Zaabi, UAE Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, said: “As part of the bilateral cooperation that has underpinned the brotherly relations between our two countries for decades, the UAE is proud to extend assistance to Pakistan in furtherance of global solidarity in the fight against COVID-19.”

“Through this aid, we honor the frontline healthcare workers in Pakistan and around the world who are working tirelessly to put an end to this crisis,” he remarked.

The UAE delivered the first batch of critical medical supplies to Pakistan on April 2. On April 5, the second batch of 11 metric tons of medical supplies provided by the UAE arrived in Islamabad.

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