DOTr vows swift repatriation of OFWs in Middle East

CLARK FREEPORT -- Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade said the air sector guarantees the swift and effective implementation of repatriation plan for Filipinos in the Middle East.

“When needed, our aviation sector, and the whole of DOTr, will fully support the government’s efforts in this repatriation. We will ensure that there will be no delays in getting our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) home and safe,” Tugade said.

He said the agency support the plan of government and carriers.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and three airlines -- Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and Air Asia -- have pledged their commitment to aid in the possible repatriation of Filipinos from countries in the region affected by tension between the United States and Iran.

Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have agreed to accommodate free of charge stranded Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or in any of their available Middle East flights, once the plans for the repatriation has been outlined.

“Air Asia on the other hand has agreed to the possible allocation and free accommodation of repatriated Filipinos that need to go back to their respective provinces in their domestic flights,” CAAP Director General Jim Sydiongco said.

This manifestation of the airlines comes after defense, labor and transportation officials met on Saturday, January 11, 2020 to draft plans for the evacuation of Filipinos affected by the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

During a meeting presided by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, concerned agencies mapped out actions currently being undertaken including strategies that the government will initiate should the events in the Middle East escalate in order to secure the safety of Filipinos there.

CAAP likewise expressed its readiness to comply with the government’s air requirements, air asset needs and air traffic aid to facilitate air movement.

“CAAP will be doing its part and will be more than willing to support air operations that will ensure the safety of the Filipino people in this crucial time,” Sydiongco said.


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