3 airlines to help in repatriation of OFWs in Middle East

MANILA, Philippines – Three airlines have agreed to help in the government efforts to repatriate Filipinos in Middle Eastern countries affected by the tension between the United States and Iran.

The  Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said in a statement on Friday, January 10, that Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia made the commitment as the government mapped out the evacuation plans for Filipinos in the Middle East. (READ: U.S. piles on the sanctions pain against Iran)

“Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have agreed to accommodate free of charge stranded Filipinos in the UAE or in any of its available Middle East flights, once the plans for the repatriation has been outlined,” said CAAP Director General Jim Sydiongco.

“Air Asia on the other hand has agreed to the possible allocation and free accommodation of repatriated Filipinos that need to go back to their respective provinces in their domestic flights,” Sydiongco added.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier created a special working committee to craft a plan for the evacuation of Filipinos in the Middle East should tensions further escalate in the region after the killing of Iranian commander Major General Qasem Soleimani.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, a member of the committee, presided a meeting on Friday which discussed efforts undertaken by concerned agencies, and steps the government will take to ensure the safety of Filipinos in affected areas in the Middle East. 

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade vowed to ensure the prompt repatriation of  OFWs if the situation would warrant it.

“Our aviation sector, and the whole of DOTr, will fully support the government’s efforts in this repatriation. We will ensure that there will be no delays in getting our OFWs home and safe,” Tugade said.

Malacañang earlier ordered the mandatory repatriation of Filipinos in Iraq as the Philippine government raised Alert Level 4 there. – Rappler.com