Repatriation from India start once commercial flights resume – PH envoy
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Ambassador to India Ramon Bagatsing Jr. said Sunday that the government can only repatriate Filipinos from the South Asian nation after commercial flights resume.
Bagatsing said there are no direct flights between India and the Philippines.
“Even before we issued that travel ban from India, there was already a de facto travel ban; number one, we don’t have direct flights [from] India [to] Philippines; number two, lahat ng bayan na dadaanan mo para makapunta ng Pilipinas from India may travel ban na ang gobyerno nila (all the countries you have to get through to get to the Philippines have already restricted travel from India,” said Bagatsing in an interview over DZMM.
“No matter how much we want to come up with a repatriation flight, it is extremely difficult, logistically difficult dahil wala ngang flights na papapasukin (as there are no flights coming in),” he added.
He also added that at least 150 Filipinos who want to go home need “to make it a viable number” to set up a repatriation flight.
Bagatsing said Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. told him they can schedule the repatriation flights by June or until the situation improves.
“Otherwise, we wait until the commercial flights are resumed, and then we can do that,” said Bagatsing.
According to the ambassador, 73 Filipinos in India have been infected by the virus, with two deaths recorded so far.
The Philippines earlier issued a two-week travel ban on April 27, barring the entry of travelers from India from April 29 until May 14.
India has recorded 401,993 new COVID-19 cases bringing its total number to 19. 5 million.
Meanwhile, India’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 211,853.
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