28 April 2020 – One hundred eighty-three (183) Filipinos stranded in Malaysia are finally on their way home after the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur organized a mass repatriation with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila via a Philippine Airlines chartered flight that departed the Kuala Lumpur International Airport this afternoon.
The repatriated Filipinos were composed of Filipino tourists and OFWs who approached the Embassy for assistance after being stranded due to the unexpected cancellations of flights starting from 18 March 2020, and the containment measures of both Malaysia and the Philippines to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
“The Embassy remains strongly committed to assist Filipinos in distress, especially those who were severely impacted by the spread of COVID-19,” Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Charles C. Jose assured. “This includes helping our kababayans get home safely.
The chartered flight, which was fully funded by the Philippine Government, was made possible through the efforts of the Philippine Embassy and the DFA. Due to this, the Filipino repatriates, most of whom were already experiencing financial difficulties due to their unexpected prolonged stay in Malaysia, did not have to pay for their return airfare.
“Thank you po sa pag-assist at makasama na ako (sa flight) pauwi ng Pilipinas,” said Mr. Rene Burgos, an overseas Filipino, as he queued to check in for the flight.
“Nagpapasalamat kami because you gave us hope, and we feel that the Embassy and the government is really there for us, so it’s a very big gratitude from us,” said another stranded Filipino who requested to be unnamed for privacy reasons.
“Gusto ko pong magpasalamat sa Philippine Embassy, dahil nung nag-try kaming humingi ng tulong sa kanila, mabilis kaming inaksyunan. Hindi po kami nila pinabayaan, hanggang sa pag-request naming ng shelter at sa foods, pati po sa flight namin, sila po ang tumulong sa amin,” said one of the Filipina repatriates from Johor Bahru, who will be coming home with her two children.
While queueing for check-in, the repatriates were provided face masks by the Embassy team assisting them at the airport. Breakfast packs were also distributed by Post’s OWWA team.
Upon disembarkation at NAIA, the repatriated Filipinos will be subjected to a mandatory health assessment by the Department of Health-Bureau of Quarantine (DOH-BOQ).
This mass repatriation follows an earlier effort on 5 April when 83 stranded Filipinos were able to board a “special flight” from Kuala Lumpur to Manila co-organized by the Philippine Embassy, DFA, and the Malaysian Embassy in Manila.
The Embassy extended its thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia for facilitating the arrangements for the chartered flight and the safe passage of the Filipino passengers on their way to the airport while Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO) is in place.
The PAL plane used for the chartered flight carried 123 stranded Malaysians in the Philippines on its journey from Manila to Kuala Lumpur for the repatriation.
For more information, visit the Embassy’s website at http://www.philembassykl.org.my or its official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PHinMalaysia/.