Stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East - the visas of some of whom have already expired - are appealing to the government to lift a seven-country travel ban and allow them to go back home.
JP Soriano's "24 Oras" report said repatriation requests by some Filipinos staying in Oman and the United Arab Emirates have been ignored.
The Philippines banned entry from incoming travelers of Oman, United Arab Emirates, and five other nations as a precautionary measure against the Delta variant, the more contagious variant of COVID-19 that was first reported in India. This travel ban was extended until the end of June.
Alexis Alcantara, a stranded OFW from UAE, became emotional after sharing that he was not able to return home for Father's Day and see her newborn daughter.
"No OFW wants to infect their families. We are willing to go on quarantine for 14 days, undergo a swab test for three or five times. We just want to go home," Alexis, who has been staying in UAE for four years, said in Filipino and English.
"My youngest, who is one-month-old, I thought I will get to see her on Father's Day. But I couldn't, I don't have a job," he added.
Another stranded OFW in the UAE also lamented that she needed to return home because her two children are alone in their house in the Philippines.
On the other hand, Michelle Cuenca and her seven-year-old daughter could not leave the UAE because her visa has already expired.
"My next flight will be on July 30. There will be a penalty so this means our company can't shoulder the expenses," she said in a mix of Filipino and English.
Jestoni Donding, another worker in UAE with an expired visa has been stranded for four months, said his savings are almost running out.
"I hope they understand our situation," he said in Filipino.
Keri Ann Gerodias, an OFW stuck in Oman, said she needed to go back home for her daughter's medical operation.
Meanwhile, Kriz Ong Joco said she will have to look for another area to live in once her visa gets canceled. But she lamented that, at this point, she has nowhere to go.
The Philippine Consulate General in Dubai, for its part, said stranded OFWs in Dubai may contact their hotlines for repatriation concerns:
- (+971) 56-501-5756
- Consuelo Marquez/MDM, GMA News