by Emily Manuel
Contributor, Eagle News
THE HAGUE, The Netherlands (Eagle News) – The Philippine Embassy in the Netherlands assisted a total of 392 overseas Filipinos in a repatriation flight from Amsterdam to Manila last July 3, 2020. The flight included 367 seafarers, 3 land-based workers, 10 stranded tourists, 7 au pairs, 2 students, and 3 other returning Filipinos.
– Stranded Filipinos –
Due to the daily limit of inbound passengers allowed to enter the Philippines, many seafarers were stranded in different ports around the world, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and the neighboring ports of Antwerp and Hamburg. Some even flew from as far as Barcelona to join the flight.
Even after their contracts ended as early as March, seafarers have been unable to find flights home. Since then, they’ve been staying in docked ships or accommodations arranged by their employers.
Meanwhile, Filipino tourists, students, au pairs, and other returning Filipinos have been stranded in different parts of Europe after multiple flight cancellations. Some are still waiting to receive a refund on their tickets.
– Coordination efforts –
After receiving several requests for assistance to go home, the Philippine Embassy took the initiative to arrange a repatriation flight to Manila with KLM. After notifying stranded Filipinos of the special flight, the Embassy requested passengers to send their confirmation along with their personal details to the Embassy. Costs were borne by the passengers or their employers and paid directly to KLM.
Approval for the flight was obtained from government authorities through the assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of Migrant Workers Affairs and Intelligence Service Unit.