MANILA, Philippines – The overseas Filipino worker who helped bring fellow OFWs out of conflict-torn Homs and Latakia in Syria will arrive in Manila on Thursday.
Alma Bella Guiao is scheduled to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on board Etihad Airlines flight No. EY 424 from Damascus.
“We commend Ms. Guiao for her unyielding courage and perseverance in saving fellow OFWs caught in the conflict-stricken governorate of Homs,” DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a press statement.
Guiao was able to bring at least 25 Pinoy household service workers from Homs and Latakia to the Philippine Embassy in Damascus last year.
“She is a role model for the Filipino community in Syria because of her steadfast dedication in getting Filipino household service workers out of harm’s way. She is an example of a Filipino who is truly patriotic and dedicated to the service of her fellow Filipinos,” del Rosario said.
Guiao will be arriving in Manila together with 9 other female OFWs who availed of the repatriation program of the Philippine government.
Their plane tickets have been shouldered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Damascus.
Four of the OFWs, who are overstaying workers, will be repatriated directly from the Kaffarseuseh prison in Damascus. Their cases were handled by the embassy who made representations with the appropriate Syrian government agencies.
The six other OFWs, including Guiao, were temporarily sheltered at the Embassy’s Halfway House while negotiations with their Syrian employers and with Syrian authorities were conducted by the Embassy for the immediate issuance of their exit visas.
The DFA raised crisis alert level 4 in Syria on December 22, and mandatory repatriation of all Filipinos in the country is underway in light of the escalating tensions there.