The Philippine Consulate General in Manado, Indonesia, along with the Philippine military brought 51 Filipino fishermen earlier stranded in Indonesia back to the Philippines.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday, July 21, the fishermen were repatriated from Manado to General Santos City last July 17.
The repatriation was unlike others, where Filipinos were able to return home through commercial fights or chartered flights arranged by embassies.
In bringing home the 51 Filipino fishermen, the consulate general coordinated with the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command, Philippine Border Committee Secretariat, and Philippine Air Force.
The DFA said the EastMinCom and Philippine Air Force sent a C-130 aircraft from the 200th Airlift Wing with an 18-man crew clad in personal protective equipment to bring the Filipinos to General Santos City.
The Filipino fishermen were tested for COVID-19 before leaving Manado and upon arriving in General Santos City, and were also given protective gear. The 51 Filipinos included 29 from General Santos, 5 from Davao City, 8 from Davao Oriental, 7 from Sarangani, and one each from South Cotabato Sultan Kudarat.
Before this, the Philippine Air Force also repatriated 11 Indonesians previously stranded in the Philippines due to travel restrictions prompted by lockdown measures.
“The repatriation of the 11 Indonesians to Manado reflects the excellent relationship of mutual and brotherly assistance between the Philippines and Indonesia,” the DFA said.
Since the start of the pandemic, the DFA has repatriated over 90,000 Filipinos worldwide. – Rappler.com