Duterte orders DFA to check status of stranded Filipino seafarers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 15 2020 12:16 AM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and its foreign offices to check the status of Filipino seafarers who may have been stranded at sea due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Duterte, he has received reports that some Filipino seafarers have been stranded at sea, after their ships were not allowed to dock at their intended destinations due to local lockdown laws.

"There are Filipinos who are, itong mga seafarers, karamihan ito na-stranded, naiwan sa barko, when they were not allowed to dock or magdiskarga ng intended cargo nila for a certain destination because of COVID and they were contaminated and some who were not escape, and others just stayed in the ships, just bear it all," he said.

(There are Filipinos who are, these seafarers, most of them were stranded inside the ship when they were not allowed to dock or magdiskarga ng intended cargo nila for a certain destination becasue of COVID and they were contaminated and some who were not escape, and others just stayed in the ships, just bear it all.)

"I would like to direct the foreign affairs department, 'yung mga commercial attache natin, and even the police, we have police and military guys who are assigned in the different embassies, kindly check and do a validation report kung mayroon bang mga Filipino na na-stranded sa inyong lugar. In your area of responsibility in other countries where you are assigned. I'd like you to check, go around if there are Filipinos who are stranded in the different ships, who are at, nasa dagat. Hindi 'yan sila sa port," he said.

(I would like to direct the foreign affairs department, our commercial attache, and even the police, we have police and military guys who are assigned in the different embassies, kindly check and do a validation report if there are stranded Filipino seafarers in your area. In your area of responsibility in other countries where you are assigned. I'd like you to check, go around if there are Filipinos who are stranded in the different ships, who are at sea. They are not docked at port.)

Duterte said he wants to help stranded Filipinos go home.

"They have not been able to dock at bumaba. Itinaboy sila at they are floating. Floating without knowing what is tomorrow for them. So nakakaawa naman ito. It pains me to realize na nandito ako and I cannot help Filipinos who are struggling, even just to exist and not live," he said.

(They have not been able to dock and disembark. They were driven away at they are floating. Floating without knowing what is tomorrow for them. I pity them. It pains me to realize that I am here and I cannot help Filipinos who are struggling, even just to exist and not live.)

According to Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, a total of 200,431 OFWs have been repatriated as of September 13. Another 80,000 are expected to go home within the year.

Lorenzana also said the fifth batch of repatriates from Sabah will arrive in the country next week.

Once they arrive, there will be around 2,000 Filipinos who have returned from Sabah, while around 3,000 are still waiting to go home.