Around 100 Filipinos stranded in Europe, Africa, says DFA

Department of Foreign Affairs building. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Around 100 Filipinos are now stranded in countries in Europe and Africa that are included in the Philippines’ “red list,” an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Saturday.

“So far, we have more or less 50 Filipinos stranded in Europe. Sa Africa naman po, seven countries din ‘yun (In Africa where seven countries are included in the red list)… we just received word this morning from our post sa South Africa na mayroong around 49,” DFA Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said at the Laging Handa public briefing.

The Philippines earlier banned inbound flights from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy from November 28 to December 15 due to the threat of the Omicron variant.

Arriola urged stranded Filipinos to contact Philippine embassies in their areas to seek help for repatriation.

“This December 10, dapat meron na pong sumabay po ‘yung repatriation ng Pilipinas with OSM Maritime. Isa siyang local manning agency mula sa Netherlands at mayroon din tayong inaayos na December 13 again from Netherlands,” she said.

(This December 10, there is supposed to be repatriation to the Philippines with OSM Maritime. It is a local manning agency in the Netherlands. We are also preparing for another repatriation on December 13 from the Netherlands.)

“Ganoon din po ang gagawin natin sa South Africa kaya lang medyo mas mahirap po doon, kasi most of the transit countries talaga, hindi rin gustong papasukin ‘yung flights from South Africa.

(That is also what we will do with South Africa but the case there is more difficult because most transit countries don’t want to accommodate flights from South Africa.)

“Ngayon po sa Europe, seven countries, ‘yung iba nga kahit hindi red list ‘yung country, dun na sila na-stranded dahil hindi na sila makabalik ng Pilipinas dahil galing sila sa red list country. So we have to bring them together in Netherlands, saka po natin sila ililipad. Kailangan natin ‘yung mga kababayan natin na magsabi sila sa mga embahada so we can make arrangements.

(In Europe, some Filipinos are stranded in non-red list countries because they came from red list countries. So we have to bring them to the Netherlands before repatriating them. We need our countrymen to coordinate with our embassies so we can make arrangements.)

Arriola said those who need repatriation assistance may visit the OFW Help Facebook page of the DFA to see the list of emergency hotlines of the department and embassies.

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