Hundreds of Filipino workers in Hong Kong who want to spend the holidays with their families in the Philippines may not be able to do so after they discovered that the flights they paid for turned out to be nonexistent.
A report on the South China Morning Post said the affected OFWs number from 200 to 1,000. The problem is being blamed on the agency Peya Travel, which the report said is popular among domestic helpers.
The report said the affected OFWs rushed to the Peya Travel office in Central Hong Kong to demand refunds, rebookings, and answers after they were told by airlines that the seats supposedly booked for them by the agency could not be confirmed.
On its Facebook page, Peya Travel apologized to its customers and asked for patience as it processed their requests.
"Makakaasa po kayo na Pinagsusumikapan naming gawan ng paraan sa abot ng aming makakaya na bawat isa ay maharap namin. Taos-pusong paumanhin po talaga," it said.
But according to the SCMP report, Peya Travel has yet to give evidence that it began the process of rebooking their customers onto new flights or process their request for refunds.
The Philippine Consulate General of Hong Kong has already expressed concern over the unissued tickets and unconfirmed bookings.
It advised the public to avoid transactions with the agency and for customers to "calmly liase" with Peya Travel to secure new bookings or refunds.
The Consulate also urged Peya Travel to "take responsibility for this unfortunate incident and take all possible and necessary steps to settle this matter to the satisfaction of the aggrieved parties."
Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific is offering OFWs "distress fares" to fill the remaining seats it has left available and is assessing the possibility of opening economy seats to distressed Filipinos on its bigger planes. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News
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