Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Parola-class patrol ship BRP Tubbataha (MRRV-4401) has assisted the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in repatriating 40 Filipino fishermen from Bitung in North Sulawesi, Indonesia.
BRP Tubbataha arrived at Satrol wharf in Bitung on October 15. The said PCG ship, with repatriated fishermen, is scheduled to arrive today, October 17 in General Santos.
“This is the first repatriation of Filipinos by sea from Indonesia during the COVID-19 pandemic. This repatriation would not be possible without our friends from the Philippine Coast Guard and our strong bilateral relations with Indonesia,” said Manuel Ayap, Acting Head of the Philippine Consulate General in Manado.
DFA said the Philippine Consulate facilitated the issuance of travel documents and the approval of the immigration clearances to the Filipinos. With the assistance of the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta, they also secured the diplomatic clearance for the voyage of BRP Tubbataha.
“The DFA Consular Office in General Santos City (CO Gensan) has coordinated with the local government authorities to prepare for the arrival of the repatriates and set up the COVID-19 protocol and their quarantine facilities. CO GenSan has also mobilized the local governments of Saranggani and Davao, the hometown of several repatriates,” DFA said.
“All 40 Filipinos underwent RT-PCR testing in compliance with Executive Order No. 42 of the Office of the City Mayor of General Santos, requiring returning residents to present a negative RT-PCR test result issued within 72 hours prior to the date of their arrival,” DFA added.