228 stranded Filipinos in Thailand repatriated to the Philippines


228 Filipinos who are either migrant workers who lost their jobs or stranded tourists who were not able to return home when the airports halted commercial flights in late March, arrived from Thailand on Monday.

They were aboard flight PR733 of Philippine Airlines (PAL) which departed Bangkok for Manila at 11:30 on the evening of July 05.

The repatriates arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 at 4 am on Monday, July 06.

Meanwhile, the same special flight from Manila, Philippines, PAL Flight PR732 brought home 274 Thais stranded in the Philippines.

The Philippine Embassy repatriated a total of 962 Filipinos, including workers who lost their jobs and tourists on April 24, May 14, and June 29. Another 184 Filipinos were repatriated on June 25, via PH Air Asia chartered flight organized by Bangkok Vista Holidays Company in coordination with Filipino Community Leaders and the Philippine Embassy.

Upon its success, Ms. Zenaida Vannaying, CEO of Bangkok Vista Holiday Co. Ltd, the Philippine Embassy and the FILCOM, also arranged the second chartered flight with PAL Thailand Office.

Consul General Val Roque and staff of the Philippine Embassy assisted the repatriates. Ms.Vannaying, also a restaurateur, provided free food.

On their website, PAL announced that it would resume its international flights to various destinations, including Bangkok, but subject to change due to the situation.

“We advise passengers to check the PAL website for the announcements,” Aileen Santos, PAL Country Manager in Thailand, said.

After undergoing the necessary process of briefing, testing, immigration, and DOT (Department of Tourism hotel bookings, the Filipino repatriates will undergo a mandatory quarantine despite zero-local transmission in Thailand for 14 days.

COVID-19 testing for non-OFW costs PHP3,500. The result of the COVID-19 RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) test will be released after 3-5 days. If the test result is negative, they can go home and will undergo another 14-day self-quarantine. Those who turned out positive will be turned over to the Department of Health (DOH) for evaluation.

Members of the Philippine Coastguard were at the airport to maintain “order” in the queue. The Coastguard team also gave them orientation on the quarantine process.

On March 21, Thailand borders closed. It was followed by suspension of commercial flights starting March 26. Tourists and other visa holders are given amnesty until July 31.

In a 2017 report by the Department of Employment of Thailand, 14,830 Filipinos currently work in Thailand taking jobs in teaching, management, engineering, architecture, hospitality, and business. It is estimated that there are 17,921 Filipinos in Thailand, according to the Philippine Embassy.

Many Filipinos are also married to Thai nationals.

The number of Filipinos who have lost their jobs in Thailand is unknown. (Source: INQUIRER.net)