The second airbridge flight carrying 205 Filipinos from the Caribbean arrives safely at NAIA on 30 July 2020


30 July 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “We wish all of them a safe return to the Philippines and to their families. I have no doubt that all the repatriates will remember their time in the island with fondness and appreciation, as they begin new lives back home or look forward to returning to the Cayman in better times,” Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez said in a statement after being informed that the second airbridge flight from Grand Cayman had departed for London, after a brief stop in Nassau, Bahamas.

The Philippine Embassy in the United States and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office-Washington DC partnered with the Office of the Governor of the Cayman Islands in organizing the airbridge flight to provide another opportunity for foreign contract workers to return to their home countries amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, a number of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were provided financial support from the Department of Foreign Affairs ATN Fund, OWWA Repatriation Fund, and private donations to the Cayman Islands Government.

A first flight repatriated two hundred ninety-five (295) OFWs and family members from the Cayman Islands on 25 May 2020. The second airbridge flight that departed on 28 July 2020 carried one hundred sixty-five (165) OFWs and family members, as well as four infants, from the Cayman Islands. 

Another thirty-six OFWs from The Bahamas and British Virgin Islands joined the flight in Nassau, bringing the total number of repatriates to two hundred five (205). The chartered British Airways flight arrived in Manila at noon on 30 July 2020.

“The two Manila airbridge flights are immensely appreciated, and they underscore the strength and depth of Philippine-UK bilateral ties”, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola declared in a statement from Manila.  

She added that the Philippine Government will continue to work closely with other governments and organizations to mount similar repatriation flights to bring home Filipinos who are in distress as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.

“We have always valued our partnerships with The Bahamas and the Cayman Islands governments. And we are deeply thankful for their assistance in making possible the repatriation of additional distressed Filipino workers from The Bahamas, as well as OFWs from the British Virgin Islands whom we flew to Nassau to catch the airbridge flight,” Ambassador Romualdez also said. 

“Likewise, we are grateful to the Filipino Community Leaders and Associations in The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, and Cayman Islands for their assistance before and during the repatriation flights. Truly, the bayanihanspirit has been evident in the Caribbean all throughout these difficult times,” the Ambassador added.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) One Stop Shop at the Manila International Airports continues to ensure that the repatriated Filipinos will arrive safe and sound to their loved ones waiting at home.

Upon arrival at NAIA, the repatriates underwent thorough documentation and briefing on current safety protocols prescribed by the IATF-EID as well as RT-PCR COVID-19 testing. They will be temporarily housed at Bureau of Quarantine-approved facilities for their mandatory quarantine while they await the result of their RT-PCR test.The safe and successful repatriation of OFWs via a whole-of-government approach continues to be facilitated by the close coordination of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Labor and Employment – Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration, with the Department of Health – Bureau of Quarantine, Department of Transportation – Manila International Airports Authority and Philippine Coast Guard, Department of Tourism, Philippine National Police, the Philippine Red Cross, and other members of the private sector. 

IMG 152818 repatriates from BVI flown to Nassau to join the airbridge

IMG 1529Dr. Leo Ignacio  of Bahamas Filcom with UK High Commissioner Sarah Dickson (right)

IMG 1530Filipinos from Cayman Islands repatriated through the 2nd airbridge flight via London

IMG 1531Filipinos from Cayman Islands repatriated through the 2nd airbridge flight via London