By: Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Seoul

Seoul, 24 June 2020 ? The Philippine Embassy in Seoul successfully facilitated the return of 425 stranded Overseas Filipinos in South Korea to the Philippines via two special flights ? Korean Air KE 623 and Asiana Airlines OZ 703 ? which departed Incheon International Airport on 23 June 2020 at 6:39pm and 6:54pm, respectively, and safely landed in Manila at appoximately 10:20pm.

Labor Attache Ma. Celeste Valderrama and ATN Officer Glenn Corpin assist the 202 Filipino passengers who took the Asiana Airlines special flight to Manila.
The two special flights were arranged by the Philippine Embassy in Seoul, with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and other relevant Philippine government agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Manila International Airport Authorities (MIAA), in cooperation with Korean Air and Asiana Airlines.

Philippine Embassy personnel sent off the departing Overseas Filipinos at the airport. Second Secretary and Consul Ella Karina Mitra, Welfare Officer Aniceta Deuna, and Assistant ATN Officer Denni Carlo Marnilego assisted the Filipino passengers who took the Korean Air flight, while Labor Attache Ma. Celeste Valderrama and ATN Officer Glenn Corpin assisted those who were on the Asiana Airlines flight. They briefed the passengers on the procedures for COVID-19 testing and quarantine upon their arrival in Manila, and also distributed vitamins and face masks, care of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), to all departing passengers.

Prior to their departure, the stranded Filipinos conveyed their profound gratitude to the Philippine government for arranging the special flights. "Maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyo galing po sa aming mga puso. Talagang masayang masaya po kami ngayon. Mabuhay po kayo!" said Mr. Mapute, one of the many workers under the Employment Permit System (EPS) who joined the special flight.

Charge d'Affaires, a.i. Christian L. De Jesus likewise thanked the departing OFs for their trust in the Philippine government. CDA De Jesus also conveyed that the Embassy, together with the DFA and relevant Philippine government agencies are committed to bringing all stranded Filipinos home, "We will continue to work hard to extend vital assistance to our nationals here in South Korea, including arranging special passenger flights for our stranded kababayans so they can be reunited with their loved ones back home."

To date, the Philippine Embassy in Seoul has facilitated the return of close to 700 Filipinos in South Korea, both residents and transiting passengers. END