Press Release
February 20, 2020

If needed, gov't should charter planes to bring home Pinoys from quarantined ship

Tama ang desisyon ng pamahalaan na i-repatriate ang mga kababayan nating nagtratrabaho sa barkong na-quarantine sa Japan.

If we have to charter a plane, then let us do it, if only to send a powerful signal to Filipino seafarers that when in distress, the government will rush to their aid.

An SOS by a seaman should not be ignored. Government should always be ready to throw a lifeline.

The cost of a mercy flight to Japan, if that is the only way they can return home, is just one coin in the barrel of money Filipino seamen remit to their homeland.

They remit P1 billion a day to their loved ones, and that is through bank and other formal channels alone. Hindi pa kasama ang perang personal na iniuuwi sa pamilya o ipinadadala sa mga kaibigan.

Last year, overseas Filipinos sent home a total of P1.7 trillion, of which P1 in every P4 was sent by 378,000 sea-based OFWs. The country's economy is kept buoyant by those who take on hard and dangerous work at sea.

So if one of the seamen on that cruise ship in Japan is ill, then he should be viewed like a soldier wounded in action, for his ailment was certainly acquired in the line duty.

It is therefore our obligation, as beneficiaries of their sacrifices, to treat them with care and compassion, and to bring them home.

After all, the government has time and again boasted that it has the money for repatriation, and the medical staff and facilities to guarantee their safe integration back to society.

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