PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has clarified that the primary reason for the deferment of repatriation flights from Philippines is the inability to get all COVID-19 tests for students.
The Prime Minister in his nation-wide address today said despite this, repatriation flights for our students in the Philippines will still proceed.
“Logistics, finance and the fact that students are scattered in different institutions around Philippines have made it difficult to get the required testings for all the students before the first flight dates that was previously announced,” he said.
Moreover, Prime Minister Sogavare said the Government through the Red Cross will also meet the costs for COVID-19 testing for all passengers from Philippines, unlike the China flight which passengers have paid the testing costs themselves.
“The testing will cost our Government around $ 1million. Nevertheless, the Government is committed to bring our students home safely,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare have also revealed that his office have also been informed that about 200 of our students cannot be repatriated because they have visa and passport issues and have been listed for deportation by the host country.
Therefore, the Prime Minister said our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade are pleading our students’ case to facilitate their smooth return home.
“To those critics that continue to misinform the public, this is no easy task and we must make sure that our testing protocols are met and our students are safe to return home. All these things are being done to protect our people and our country,” he said.
The Prime Minister said despite the difficulties faced and the latest development regarding our students, the Government will do everything possible to bring our students in Philippines home safely.
“Let us continue to pray for our students in Philippines and their families. I pray for our Father in Heaven to protect and give them strength and courage in the face of such great adversity,” he said.
OPMC Press Release