For the past two weeks, the Philippine Embassies in Madrid (Spain), Washington DC (USA), Seoul (Korea), and Doha (Qatar) have stepped up coordination efforts to ensure the safe return of Overseas Filipinos Workers (OFWs) to the Philippines.
A total of 31 OFWs from the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), who need to transit in Madrid, were endorsed by the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. to the Philippine Embassy in Madrid to ensure that their brief stay at the Madrid Barajas International Airport would be hassle-free as they were not in possession of valid Schengen visas.
The Embassy secured transit permits from the Spanish Border Immigration Authority for all the repatriates (in four batches) prior to their arrival in Madrid. It also assisted in arranging a new flight connection for 7 members of the group who were briefly stranded in Madrid on 12 September 2020 after their negative COVID-19 test results obtained from the TCI expired due to a delay in their connecting flight from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The ATN Sections of the Philippine Embassies in Doha and Seoul were also on standby to assist this batch of 7 OFWs as they made flight transfers at Doha and Incheon. Fortunately, no problem occurred during transit.
All 31 repatriates arrived safely in Manila on 31 August 2020 (first batch), 13 September 2020 (second batch), 14 September 2020 (third batch), and 17 September 2020 (fourth batch), respectively.
As of this press release, the Philippine Embassy in Madrid has already assisted a total of 977 Overseas Filipino Workers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.