DFA to extend P5,000 assistance to OFWs affected by airport runway mishap

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 21) — The Department of Foreign Affairs will be extending financial assistance to Overseas Filipino Workers who have been affected by flight delays and cancellations due to the runway closure at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Tuesday the department, through the Office Of Migrant Workers Affairs (OMWA), will give out assistance amounting to P5,000 for Filipinos who were unable to depart for their host countries due to the airport incident.

A Xiamen Airlines passenger plane skidded off the NAIA runway on August 16. The incident prompted aviation authorities to close the runway for more than 24 hours, resulting in several flight interruptions across the country.

"We are releasing a reasonable amount from our Assistance to Nationals Fund as we understand that a number of our kababayan (countrymen) remain stranded and do not have funds to meet their daily needs," Cayetano said in a statement.

OFWs who are still in the country can claim the financial aid starting at 3 p.m. on Wednesday until Friday afternoon at the OMWA offices in the DFA's main building along Roxas Boulevard, as well as at the NAIA terminals 1, 2, and 3, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola confirmed.

Here are the schedules for claiming of the financial assistance:

  • August 22 (Wednesday): Beginning 3 p.m.
  • August 23 (Thursday): 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • August 24 (Friday): 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Arriola said those claiming the aid should present their airline tickets (showing original and rescheduled dates of departure), employment contract, and overseas employment certificate. 

The DFA also said its embassies abroad are ready to issue certifications to explain to foreign employers, if needed, about the OFWs' delayed arrival.

Airport officials on Tuesday said operations at NAIA have returned to normal.

Xiamen Air has released an apology on Monday. But Malacanang wants 'more than an apology' as the airline officials are expected to undergo probe.

Kevin Yang, station manager of Xiamen Airlines in Manila, told CNN Philippines both the pilot and the first officer are still in the country and have already faced the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

Yang, however, was unable to provide information regarding the meeting.