By: Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Seoul

Seoul, 07 June 2020 ? The Philippine Embassy in Seoul today assisted 148 passengers who boarded the special Korean Air flight KE 623 which departed from Incheon International Airport at 6:45pm and safely landed in Manila at around 09:22pm.

Welfare Officer Aniceta Deuna and Embassy staff briefing the passengers on the arrival and quarantine procedures upon their arrival in NAIA
The special flight was arranged by the Philippine Embassy in Seoul for Filipino nationals who were stranded in Korea due to intermittent schedule and frequent cancellation of international flights to Manila. The arrangement was made possible with the support of various government agencies in the Philippines such as the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Manila International Airport Authorities (MIAA), and the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19, in cooperation with Korean Air.

According to Charge d'Affaires, a.i. (CDA) Christian L. de Jesus, the Embassy continues to respond to the various needs of Filipino nationals in Korea whose lives and employment are affected by the pandemic in unprecedented ways. "Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Embassy has assisted 270 stranded Filipinos in Korea, both residents and transiting passengers at Incheon International Airport. The special flight yesterday was initiated by the Embassy following our survey of Filipinos in Korea who were looking for a special passenger flight. Many have already finished their employment contracts but could not go home because their flight bookings have been cancelled for as many as 3 to 6 times," CDA de Jesus said.

Under the one-country team approach, CDA de Jesus leads the Embassy and its attached agencies in extending coordinated pandemic-related services to Filipinos in Korea, in cooperation with the different Filipino community organizations. To date, the Embassy and POLO OWWA have provided food packages to 470 individuals; hygiene and COVID-19 care kits to 1,770 Filipinos; meal assistance (cash) to 75 OFWs stranded at the Incheon International Airport; and $200.00 DOLE AKAP cash aid each to 425 OFWs in Korea who were displaced from work or were unable to work due to quarantine, with a total pay-out of $85,000.00.

Before boarding the special flight, the stranded Filipinos extended their appreciation for the assistance of the Philippine government. "Maraming salamat po sa tulong ng Embassy at POLO OWWA! Sa wakas, makakauwi na kami," said Noel Paclibar one of the returning EPS workers.

"With social distancing measures in place, we commemorate the Migrant Workers' Day today in a different but equally meaningful way, by serving our migrant workers most in need and helping bring them home to their families," CDA de Jesus said. END