MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported that around 300 Chinese nationals are now stranded at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte ordered a travel ban to mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macao due to the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (nCov ARD).
Chinese passengers who are stranded at Terminal 1 after their flights were canceled due to the government-imposed travel ban await the chance to get a rebooking.
Hongli Luo who is traveling with her husband and two children back to Shanghai was getting emotional while trying to book a return flight.
“I’m with my two kids and husband. It’s very difficult here. Our flight was canceled. We really want to go back home,” she said.
As an assistance to the stranded Chinese nationals, the Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Incorporated sent boxes of bottled water and biscuits for the stranded passengers.
BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said the Chinese Embassy will be sending aircraft to pick up the stranded Chinese passengers back to China.
“Our office is coordinating with the Chinese embassy, and they have pledged to send their aircraft to fetch their citizens who are stranded in the country and maybe today or in the next few days we’ll see the details of these flights the Chinese embassy is arranging,” Sandoval said.
Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said there is ready assistance to be provided to the stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFW) at the NAIA who are affected by the travel ban to China.
“Ready naman ang DOLE lalong-lalo na ang OWWA na magbigay ng financial assistance sa mga inabutan ng ban. P10,000 ‘yan. They can be provided with temporary shelter dun sa halfway house ng OWWA,” Bello said.
DOLE advised the OFWs affected by the travel ban to China to visit the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) headquarters in Pasay City to avail of the said government assistance. —(from the report of Harlene Delgado) /mbmf
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