THE LAOAG International Airport in northern Luzon, which reopened only last month, received its second repatriation flight on July 10 as the government spreads the arrival point of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“A month after it resumed its flight operations, Laoag International Airport welcomed another repatriation flight via Philippine Airlines (PAL) Flight PR526 on 10 July 2021 at Gabu Norte, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte,” the Bureau of Customs reported on Sunday.
The flights carried 119 workers from Kuala Lumpur, who were “among those hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who were stranded since the start of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic last 15 March 2020,” the bureau said.
The first repatriation flight to Laoag landed on June 12 and a third is tentatively scheduled on July 24.
The Davao International Airport in the country’s south has also been receiving repatriation flights, considered as special chartered services.
Among the passengers were seafarers from Fiji and workers from Bangladesh. Another flight was expected to arrive on July 18 with workers from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The organizers of these flights — various government agencies, local government, and private airlines and hotels — have set up a bubble arrangement for passengers to ensure the implementation of quarantine protocols and avoid triggering local transmissions in case someone is carrying the coronavirus.
The number of inbound passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, the country’s main gateway, is limited to 2,000 per day as part of the government’s response measures on the pandemic.
More than half a million overseas Filipino workers have been repatriated by the government since the start of the pandemic. — MSJ