MORE than a thousand stranded Filipino workers in Hong Kong will be able to spend Christmas with their loved ones in the Philippines after Malacañang approved the proposal of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment to bring them home in time for the holidays.
In a statement, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the President approved the plan he and Labor
Secretary Silvestre Bello III put together on Wednesday to help the Filipinos who were stranded in Hong Kong after they were defrauded by the travel agency that they bought their tickets home from.
“Our countrymen in Hong Kong and other parts of the world have a very special place in President Duterte’s heart, and it is just right that we make their Christmas wish come true by doing what we can to bring them home,” Cayetano said.
He made his statement even as the Department of Labor and Employment expressed gratitude to Cebu Pacific for offering to provide free seats to accommodate some of the stranded Filipinos.
The department said it was now coordinating with Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and the Department of National Defense to bring home the stranded Filipinos before Christmas.
Cayetano, co-chairman of the Cabinet Cluster on Overseas Workers, said government will advance the cost of the round-trip tickets to the stranded workers.
Cayetano said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had also placed the Philippine Air Force on standby in case air assets would have to be flown to Hong Kong to ferry the workers home.
He said he had also instructed the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong to file criminal charges against PEYA Travel, the Filipino-owned travel agency that allegedly defrauded the workers.