Philippine Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes said that Filipinos should not hesitate to directly contact the Philippine missions in the UAE to reach out and air their concerns.
In a Facebook Live interview on OFW Help Live hosted by Philippine Department Foreign Affairs (DFA) undersecretaries Sarah Lou Arriola and Ernesto Abella, Cortes said that those in need their help should not go to the Embassy or Consulate offices due to the lockdown imposed in the country.
They have called on their kabayans, who are suffering due to Covid-19 crisis, who are out of work, have expired visas, to return to the Philippines.
“They can email or message on WhatsApp. We are working around the clock and our staff will respond,” Cortes said.
Cortes added in the live feed that Filipinos should coordinate with the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai or Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi so that they will be able to come up with a list of who wish to go back home for good.
The Philippine missions have already received 900 applicants so far, however, only 200 are on tourist or visit visa.
Last April 6, the Consulate posted the WhatsApp number +971 56 417 7558 so they can be reached out easily. For assistance to nationals, Filipinos may call +971 56 501 5755 or +971 56 501 5756.
The Philippine Embassy has recently released a circular, clarifying that workers whp have been terminated due to Covid-19 pandemic and would like to be repatriated must demand from their employers return tickets to the Philippines.
“Kung ikaw ay terminated na, ang amo ang may obligasyon na bumili ng iyong ticket pabalik ng Pilipinas. Ito ay sang-ayon sa batas ng UAE. Maaring mag-book ang inyong employer sa Emirates Airlines or Etihad dahil may mga binuksan silang flights at binigyan sila ng pahintulot na lumipad sa Pilipinas,” the statement read.
Those Filipinos in UAE who are on visit or tourist visa need to email their concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
“Makakatulong po ng malaki kung desidido na kayong umuwi sa Pilipinas bago makipag-ugnayan sa Embahada o Konsulado. Suguraduhin lang po na ito na talaga ang inyong hangarin para hindi masayang ang ticket na maari po sanang magamit sa ibang mga pangangailangan ng bansa natin,” the statement added.
According to Cortes, the Philippine government’s total budget for its Assistance to Nationals (ATN) is Php 1 billion or approximately AED72.5 million annually.