The Department of Foreign Affairs has repatriated 881 Filipino cruise ship workers from the United States as the world grapples to control the spread of coronavirus disease pandemic.
The DFA said the Filipino repatriates from the US arrived on Wednesday, 445 of whom come from Norwegian Cruise Lines ships – Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Encore, while the other 436 worked at cruise ships Costa Magica and Costa Favolosa of Costa Cruises.
“With the world grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole of Philippine government continues its efforts in responding to Filipinos both here in the country and those overseas,” the DFA said in a statement.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said that in compliance with the national established health protocols, the Filipino crew will undergo a mandatory 14-day facility-based quarantine which will be monitored by the Bureau of Quarantine.
“The DFA works with other government agencies and the private sector in this whole of government approach to facilitate the seamless repatriation of our workers,” Arriola said.
The repatriation of the Filipino cruise ship workers was facilitated by the DFA, the Philippine Embassy in Washington, the Department of Health, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, the Department of
Transportation, the Department of Interior and Local Government, and the seafarer’s local manning agencies. Meanwhile, DFA
Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has appealed to Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to allow foreigners to enter the province and board their repatriation flights via the Mactan Cebu International Airport.
“LAST GERMAN FLIGHT OUT planned for this weekend to take last tourists stranded in Palawan, Siargao, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Bohol, Caticlan, Surigao, Tacloban, Mindanao & Bacolod to Cebu and Manila. Cebu makes it hard for evacuees to enter its airport,” Locsin said, in his Twitter account.
“On my knees, I beg Cebu, please,” he added.
Locsin warned of future repercussions should the Cebu government would not grant access to stranded foreign nationals to its international airport.
“I am trying to spare Philippine tourism from a justified retaliation in the future,” Locsin said.
“I am also asking our local officials to put themselves in the shoes/rubber slippers of foreign tourists stuck here for the duration – out in the open with their kids or price-gouged in hotels,” he added.
The Foreign Affairs Secretary noted that while there is an Inter-Agency Task Force resolution overriding LGUs, he lamented that it was not working.
“Maybe the reso rubbed LGUs the wrong way. Best way is to massage them into helping get the foreigners out for the sake of the future of Phil tourism,” he said, in his Twitter account.
Garcia earlier slammed the MCIA Authority and the Department of Tourism in Central Visayas (DOT-7) for facilitating the entry of foreign national in the province despite her orders to ban the entry of those coming from other provinces.
The Cebu governor also ordered the stoppage of the entry of all international and domestic passengers as the province eased into its enhanced community quarantine amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation here.