The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has repatriated 40 distressed fishermen from North Sulawesi province, Indonesia, an envoy said Saturday.
“This is the first repatriation of Filipinos by sea from Indonesia during the COVID-19 pandemic. This repatriation would not be possible without our friends from the Philippine Coast Guard and our strong bilateral relations with Indonesia,” said Manuel Ayap, acting head of the Philippine Consulate General in Manado city in a statement.
The fishermen boarded Philippine Coast Guard vessel BRP Tubbataha and were due to arrive in General Santos City on Saturday.
The Philippine Consulate helped to issue travel documents and approve immigration clearances to the Filipinos.
The DFA Consular Office in General Santos has coordinated with local government authorities to prepare for the arrival of the repatriates and set up the COVID-19 protocol and their quarantine facilities.
All 40 Filipinos underwent RT-PCR testing in compliance with Executive Order No. 42 of the Office of the City Mayor of General Santos, requiring returning residents to present a negative RT-PCR test result issued within 72 hours prior to the date of their arrival.