Letter of Appreciation

2,401

Aurthur Mola, President of Solomon Island Philippines Students Association

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For a year we had been locked up and stranded in a distant territory due to this unprecedented pandemic (Covid). Despite that, we made it home safely however, that would not be possible if the government, certain stakeholders and some individuals have not committed their effort, time & money into it. It might appear unchallenging for some but rest assured this requires relentless efforts, sacrifices and patience. Therefore; I on behalf of my fellow students, SIPSA Executive and other citizens who once stranded in the Philippines would like to acknowledge certain people, organisations, stakeholders and the Solomon Islands Government for the commitment, time and money exerted thus, leads to our successful repatriation.

Firstly, I would like to commend the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and other stakeholders who through their collaborative efforts borne the cost of our repatriations 100%. SIG through its relevant ministries provide an excellent service on a much needed time. Especially, the Ministry of Education Human Resources & Development (MEHRD), Ministry of Health & Medical Services (MHMS) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MFAET). We salute the service offered by the public servants of various ministries and departments. Special mention to the PS of MEHRD Franco Rodie, PS of MHMS Pauline McNeil, and PS of MFAET Collin Beck for your endless assistances and prompt responses whenever required or asked. Furthermore; thank you Director of National Scholarship Division (NSD) Curtis Kalu and your good staff for making sure our welfare and study affairs were always taken care of. To the Technical Advisor of the Ministry of Health Dr. Yogesh Choudhri, other doctors and all your hardworking health team who tirelessly worked day and night to make sure our health is in good hands, we appreciate your sacrifices. Further appreciation to the government formulated Oversight Committee (OSC) members for taking care of the covid 19 related matters in and out of our country. Special thank you to the Chairman of Repatriation Committee Cornelius Walegerea as well as your hardworking colleagues from MFAET, the likes of Madolyn Yalu, Samantha Kanai, Martin Teu and even others who I might not able to mention your names. All of you are superstars in time of great need. Still on that we must not forget the Prime Minister’s multi-tasked Secretary Dr. Jimmy Rodgers. Thank you for the great work you had rendered not only for us but the nation as a whole. Upper most, my thankfulness to Solomon Islands Prime Minister Sir. Manasseh Sogovare. We salute you for the excellent service offered to our beloved Solomon Islands. Thank you for standing high and tall despite the challenges faced by our country. Second, heaps of appreciation to Prime Minister’s Special Envoy (Johnny Sy) to the Philippines and his family for all the assistance and support given to us in arranging the quarantine facilities, catering, transportations and sorting immigration issues in the Philippines. Indeed, you had played an instrumental role to us. Thank you for providing PPEs to all repatriating students on your own costs. Thank you for your time, effort, money, patience and commitment you braced us with.

Third, we are grateful for the work which Solomon Islands Consulate office in the Philippines assisted us with. Special thank you to our Honorary Counsel in the Philippines Sir. Francisco Tiu Laurel for allowing your good staff to assist us all through out. Particularly, on the area of sorting out students’ visas. Your role in assisting downgrading students and deportation for our overstayed students was exceptional. Some of these students never went back home since entering the Philippines and had been lost hope of returning to Solomon Islands already due to lost passports, long overdue visas and hefty penalties encountered. Nevertheless; you stood up and negotiated with the Philippines Bureau of Immigration which enable smooth processing of their deportations. Now majority of whom already repatriated back to Solomon Islands. I would like to make mention to these two consulate officers; Sir. Roy Gabinete and Sir. Dale Sacay for the tremendous work done for us. Thank you for those days that you set aside your normal office work, came and spent your precious time with me and William at the immigration just to make sure our documents were processed on good time. I must say your assistance & support for us was priceless.

Fourth, warmest praise to Philippines Red Cross for the significant role given to us. We commend you for fulfilling the substantial part of our pre departure requirements particularly, being a furnish of all our swab tests, provide psychiatric activities to us and sponsoring transportation and quarantine facility for the positive ones. Perhaps, your contributions is valuable to us.

Fifth, deep appreciation to Solomon Airlines for availing your aircraft for all our repatriation flights. Thank you to the pilot and hardworking crews for risking your lives just to come and get us home. Special thanks to the following Solomon Airlines officers: David Pearce (Manager ground operations), Gail Tanner (Airport Operations Manager-Brisbane), Colin Sigimanu, Damaris Daonanita & Gregory Jilini for all your active efforts day and night especially in making sure all necessary flight approval and requirements were met before the flight can flew over to pick us up. Your service for us is highly appreciated.

Sixth, we must not forget those who own the quarantine facilities in which we had been staying for almost half a year at their places. Thank you to the various hotel owners and employees where SIG had engaged for us to undergo our quarantine. Thank you you for your patience with us even though at times we might face some challenges or not behaving the way you expected. On the same note, may I on behalf of my colleague students tender a sincere apology to the hotel managements if at times we might violate the hotel rules & regulations. We seek your forgiveness for that. These are the government rented hotels (quarantine facilities) Tanza Hotel, Hotel Turista, Oyo Regal Residences, Oyo Casa Lily and Sitio Manuel.

Seventh, we also thank all our frontliners, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, Nurses & doctors, quarantine camp managements, Caterers, Logistics team, and all those other employees who work together towards combating this Covid 19 in Solomon Islands. We salute you for the brilliant service you provided to our nation.

Eight, we are grateful for the work of Solomon Islands Bureau of Immigration. Thank you for always prioritizing us Philippines students especially, when it comes to processing passports or travelling documents of those whose passport were lost and also for new born babies. I know at times you went as far as working late in the night just to make sure you send us back the documents we request from you on good time. Words alone can not express our gratitude to you. We send you blessing and love in your respective works.

Ninth, to all parents and guardians we are so grateful for your commitment and continuous support for us all through out the time we were stranded in the Philippines. Especially, Parents & Guardians Committee which was set up to take care and chase matters on the ground with relevant authorities which led to our successful repatriation. We appreciate your hard work for us. I further stretch my gratitude for your patience and understanding even though the repatriation exercise took a long period of time before your sons and daughters reunite with you.

Tenth, I am very happy and impressed with the level of patience shown by my fellow students. Despite some rough encounters along the way you still held your heads up high until we all reached home safely. I thank you for the high level of respect, trust & honor you shown to SIPSA Executive and tendering your support and submission to our leadership. Without your compliance we would not make it home. But through your obedience and patience here we are today.

Last but not the least, we give back all praise, Glory and honor to our Almighty God for protection, guidance, unending love, mercy and most of all abundant blessings we enjoy daily. Oh God we can not thank you enough for what you had done for us.

Again, I on behalf of Philippines Students Association (SIPSA) thank you all for your assistance and support for us students which lead up to the successful repatriation of all Philippines students and other stranded citizens. I strongly believe that this is a great accomplishment for our country and it was achieved through collective efforts and cooperation of all of the above mentioned. My apologies if I may not able to mention you but you also help us in one way or the other; kindly accept my gratitude for I might just not able to remember all of you. We owe you more. Thank you & God bless.

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