DFA team to depart for Wuhan Saturday night to repatriate Filipinos

Jove Moya

THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) together with a medical team from the Department of Health (DOH) are scheduled to fly on Saturday night, February 8, from Clark, Pampanga to Wuhan City, China to assist Filipinos to be repatriated from the epicenter of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

According to Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola, the team "is already experienced in repatriation operations, and has been briefed and prepared for this particular assignment. They will also undergo simulation exercise at Clark International Airport a day before the flight to ensure fast and efficient operation."

On flight back to Clark, the DFA team will assist the repatriated Filipinos to complete immigration documents, and other requirements.

The three-member Health Emergency Response Team (HERT), composed of Mr. Rowell Casaclang, Mr. Abdul Rahman Pacasum, and Mr. Richard delos Santos from the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs (OUMWA), will be joined by a five-member medical team from the Department of Health (DOH). They will be on a Royal Air flight arranged by the DFA after receiving clearance from Chinese authorities.

Despite Tarlac municipality's opposition, the repatriated Filipinos will stay at the Athlete's Village in New Clark City for 14 days.

The crew who manned the flight will likewise be subjected to the 14-day quarantine period.

The municipal council of Capas, Tarlac passed on Friday a resolution opposing the conversion of the Athlete's Village into a quarantine area for the repatriates.

According to Capas Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan, DOH must consider another facility as a quarantine zone.

"While it is true that I, as a Filipino, am in favor of the repatriation of OFWs from the province of Hubei, China, I feel perturbed by the fact that Department of Health did not at all, any way, involve the Capas locaal government in its last-minute decision for New Clark City Capas to be used as quarantine zone for these Persons under Monitoring," Catacutan said. (SunStar Philippines)