Press Release
August 20, 2018


Sen. Chiz Escudero has urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide assistance to Filipino migrant workers who were gravely affected by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport chaos.

"I call on the DFA and OWWA to assist OFWs affected by these flight delays. Assistance with airline companies in rebooking and with their employers to help explain the delay and for it not to be taken against them," Escudero said.

This was after hundreds of domestic and international flights were cancelled when a Xiamen Air passenger aircraft skidded off a runway of NAIA on Thursday evening.

More than 36 hours after the incident, the airport was reopened, but thousands of passengers remained stranded and were heavily inconvenienced due to flight disruptions.

According to Escudero, it is within the rights of the passengers to be compensated for the trouble that the mishap has caused, particularly to the OFWs who now fear of losing their jobs for not being able to return to their countries of employment on time.

Under Section 11.2 of the Joint DOTC-DTI Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 2012 also known as the Air Passenger Bill of Rights, "when a flight is cancelled because of force majeure, safety/security reasons, a passenger shall have the right to be reimbursed for the full value of the fare."

"Government must also find a way to indemnify passengers for damages caused by these inordinate delays especially in cases of non-refundable tickets, missed connection flights and additional billeting expenses," Escudero said.

OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said in an interview that they are assisting OFWs whose flights were still delayed and that they are already coordinating with the Philippine Airlines (PAL). According to him, they are giving priority to those whose visas were about to expire.

Nevertheless, Escudero reiterated that apart from helping them rebook and refund their tickets, the DFA and OWWA must ensure that OFWs were given the support they need in explaining the unfortunate incident, which is completely out of their hands, to their employers.

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