After more than two months, the Filipino fishermen stranded in Fiji have finally returned home, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Wednesday (November 17th).
Thanks to a special charter flight, the 36 Filipino fishermen were brought back to the Philippines. They arrived at Davao International Airport on November 5.
According to the DFA, they were crew members of Chinese-operated fishing boats and were initially due to return to the country on August 20. However, 19 of them tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) before their flight.
âIn addition to making arrangements for the repatriation of fishermen and Philippine entry protocol requirements, quarantine equipment and COVID-19 testing, they also received social assistance in food and other essentials while they were still stranded in Fiji and awaiting their rescheduled flight, âthe Foreign Ministry said.
The 19 fishermen, who contracted the viral disease, also received financial assistance of P 10,000 for their follow-up under the Alagang Kabayan project of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), while the rest of the workers received cash assistance of P 5,000 from the Ministry of Social Affairs. Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The DFA attributed the successful repatriation of the fishermen to the collective efforts and resources of agencies under the Philippine Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand, including its National Assistance Unit, its Philippine Labor Office in the abroad, the representation of OWWA, as well as the Honorary Consulate General of the Philippines in Suva, Fiji.
The team also coordinated closely with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the OWWA in Manila, and received critical support from the Filipino community in Fiji, the agency said.
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