Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano confirmed Friday that Malacañang has approved the proposal of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to bring home some 1,000 Filipinos stranded in Hong Kong in time for the holidays.
In a statement, Cayetano said President Duterte approved the plan that he and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III put together on Wednesday.
About 1,000 Filipinos have found themselves stranded in Hong Kong after the tickets they purchased from Filipino-owned Peya Travel Agency were not honored at the airport.
Cayetano, co-chair of the Cabinet Cluster on Overseas Workers, said the DFA and the DOLE, through the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs (OMWA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), will pay for the workers’ plane tickets.
He said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has placed the Philippine Air Force on standby in case air assets would have to be flown to Hong Kong to ferry the workers home.
At the same time, Cayetano said he has instructed the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong to sue PEYA Travel.
“We also will pursue a civil suit against PEYA Travel to compensate our kababayans for the damages they suffered,” he said.
DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said that under the arrangements with OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac, the two agencies will split the cost of the roundtrip tickets of the workers.
Affected workers will be asked to issue an undertaking assigning the refund of their tickets bought from Peya Travel to the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong.