On Wednesday (June 30), Philippines Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said that two repatriation flights from the UAE are scheduled between June 30 and July 17.
Arriola stated that the government will charter more flights if quarantine facilities are available.
More Repatriation Flights from the PH to be Expected from the UAE
“We have 35,000 rooms available at the moment and they get filled up fast, but we’re ready to repatriate. We have been given by the government enough resources to get sweeper flights. The only problem is that because quarantine lasts for 14 days, that 35,000 gets quickly filled,” she said during a virtual presser hosted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office, PNA reported.
Arriola stated that the DFA is continually working with other government departments to request extra quarantine facilities and that once rooms are available, a new repatriation flight might be announced between June 30 and July 17.
She explained that while it is easy to charter flights, there are still the quarantine protocols that require them to allocate more rooms, which at the moment, they’re struggling to provide.
She added that for those who’ve seen the news, the Delta variant wreaks havoc, but the government is doing its best and trying to find ways to open up more hotels in different parts of the country.
The UAE has issued a travel ban on inbound aircraft from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal due to the development of the more dangerous Delta coronavirus type in the region, preventing most Filipinos in the country from returning home.
Some OFWs have already resorted to social media to demand that the prohibition be lifted, citing the fact that many of them are now burdened with rebooking fees and expired visas.
Those who are stranded, as per Arriola, can take advantage of the repatriation program given by the nearest embassy or consulate.
“Anyone who’s stranded is an OFW in distress so I would really encourage them to avail of the repatriation flights because the longer it takes the more people are stranded. We’re not selective when it comes to repatriation so anyone who applies is welcome, but of course the priority are those with medical conditions and those who are pregnant),” she said.