DFA trying to repatriate Filipinos stranded in Kish

DUBAI - The repatriation of Filipinos who were stranded on Kish Island is another instance of the ongoing assistance of Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Arroyo administration that is necessary to ensure the protection of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), said Jose Brilliantes, DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs in an interview with Khaleej Times.

By Ramona Ruiz

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Published: Fri 18 Jun 2004, 11:25 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:59 PM

Mr Brilliantes added that First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo had also expressed an interest in rendering assistance to OFWs. It may be recalled that he assisted in the repatriation of jailed Filipino seafarers in Ras Al Khaimah last year.

Commenting on the financial help extended by a group of Filipinos in Dubai towards five Filipinos who were reportedly stranded on Kish Island, he said: "It is a tribute to the spirit of camaraderie and benevolence of our countrymen who came to the aid of other Filipinos. We consider the Filipino community as our partner in maximising protection and assistance to our nationals considering our limitations in fully rendering assistance."

He told Khaleej Times that the Office of the Under-Secretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) received on June 14 a report from Alex Riosa, the Assistance to Nationals (ATN) official at the Philippine Embassy in Teheran. Consul Jose Cabrera had acknowledged receipt of the report.

In that report, Mr Riosa had stated that they were able to assist five OFWs who were stranded on Kish Island. They were identified as Herminio Aquino and Danilo Orpia who were already repatriated to Manila; Rosby Calim and Fred Manginsay who opted to stay behind; and Mark Alvin Maaba who was able to return to Dubai with the assistance of other OFWs.

"Filipinos in Dubai raised a certain amount, while the Department of Foreign Affairs authorised the Philippine Embassy in Teheran to release a total of $8,976 in funds. This amount was judiciously spent for the hotel bills, airline tickets and other miscellaneous expenses of these OFWs," Shiela Solas, an action officer at OUMWA told Khaleej Times.

Ms Solas, along with the rest of the DFA legal and consular team comprising Bert Salvador and Eloisa Marmon, had visited Kish Island in March this year to check on the status of Filipinos on the island.

Although the report did not mention whether they had plans to look into similar cases of stranded Filipinos on the island, Ms Solas pointed out that there would be constant consular missions to be carried out by the embassy in Teheran as Kish Island as it falls under their jurisdiction.

"There is proper coordination between the DFA and embassies in Teheran and Abu Dhabi. I would also like to stress that before the report from Teheran reached us, we had earlier coordinated with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) on the possible release of funds for our nationals," she said.

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