PANOORIN: Bello – PAL, DND TAPPED TO HELP Stranded OFWs in HK will be home for Christmas

The government is now working toward helping the Philippine-bound OFWs who were stuck in Hong Kong after their travel agency failed to confirm their flight bookings on time.

Interviewed on Balitanghali on Thursday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said his department is now coordinating with the Philippine Airlines and the Department of National Defense (DND) to arrange flights for the affected OFWs, reportedly numbering between 200 to 1,000.

Bello said he got confirmation from PAL that it will update their flight from Hong Kong to Manila to have “extra seats” to accommodate the OFWs.

“They committed na ‘yung mga stranded diyan makakauwi in two to three days so makakarating kayo before Christmas,” Bello said.

Apart from arranging flights with the flag carrier, Bello said he and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano have requested Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana for a C-130 plane to bring the OFWs home.

“I’m just waiting for the head of office in charge of the C-130 for us to be able to give the details kung ilan at kung sinu-sino ‘yung mga isasakay nila,” Bello said.

He added, “‘Wag po kayong mag-alala, alam po namin ang inconvenience tsaka discomfort na nangyari sa inyo. We are doing our best upon instruction of President [Rodrigo] Duterte na kailangan maiuwi namin kayo bago mag-Christmas.”

Bello said the DOLE is also coordinating with the National Bureau of Investigation for possible large-scale estafa case to be filed against Peya Travel, the travel agency blamed for the incident.

“Large-scale estafa, non-bailable ‘yan,” he said.

The affected OFWs have stormed the Peya Travel office in Central Hong Kong to demand refunds, rebookings, and answers after they were told by airlines that the seats supposedly booked for them could not be confirmed.