By Angel L. Tesorero
Dubai: The Philippine missions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) told overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) wanting repatriation to demand from their employers return tickets to the Philippines.
In an advisory issued Monday, April 13, the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and Philippine Consulate in Dubai told terminated OFWs due to the corona virus disease (Covid-19) it is the obligation of their employers to purchase their return ticket to the Philippines.
“This is pursuant to the UAE labor laws,” the advisory reads.
Addressing the employers, the two missions said: “We are calling on the employers for their understanding and cooperation.”
The employer can book a flight via Emirates of Etihad Airlines, which have been permitted to fly to the Philippines, the diplomatic posts said.
A travel agent confirmed there is a special Emirates repatriation flight available on April 15 and 16. A one-way flight to Manila starts from Php13,800 (Emirates Dirham2,550).
“There is no need to call the Embassy or Consulate on this because they have been given special flights permission to land in Manila despite the lockdown in Metro Manila and Luzon,” the advisory adds.
The missions clarified however that only documented OFWs may avail of the benefit while “undocumented” ones may need to seek the help of their family, friends or their travel agencies.
“If you have no employer or job contract and has arrived to the UAE to look for a job through the help of family and friends or through a sponsoring travel agency, you need to get their assistance to buy a ticket,” the advisory says.
“For those with no employer, relative or friend to help them and would like to go home for good, they should get in touch with the Embassy or Consulate to help assess their situation,” it adds.
The Embassy or Consulate will ask the Philippine government to purchase the return ticket for an undocumented OFW “if there is an available fund.”
Fund is available
Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes said the total budget of the Philippine government for its Assistance to Nationals (ATN) is PhP 1 billion pesos annually for overseas Filipinos globally.
Cortes noted the ATN fund was instrumental in helping overstaying Filipinos in the UAE during the 2018 Amnesty Repatriation programme.
“Philippine authorities shouldered not just the airfare of amnesty seekers, but also their out-pass clearances and other administrative fees,” Cortes pointed out.
“We will facilitate your return to the Philippines,” the advisory notes. “(We are) ready to assist our compatriots and will do everything possible to help them weather this crisis,” it adds. #