First batch of 64 Filipino repatriates from Haiti arrives

January 29, 2010 11:14 pm 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Jan. 29 — Six of the 64 Filipinos who survived the January 12 magnitude-7 earthquake in Haiti arrived in the country Friday morning aboard a commercial flight from Los Angeles.

Their circuitous repatriation is coordinated by the Philippine Task Force for Recovery, Relief, Assistance and Repatriation in Haiti led by ambassador to Cuba Macarthur Corsino.

The first batch of repatriates were Gregoria Bacurin, Donna Bacurin, Rochelle Cruz, Sonny Maning, Mikaela Santos and Rosario Santos.

A second batch of 18 is due Saturday, while another 40 are expected early next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

The 18 who are scheduled to arrive Saturday are Bobby Manalansang, Ruby Belle Manalansang, Rosemarie Paglomutan, Roberto Pretilla, Allana Ramirez, Maria Lucia Repizo, Kenneth Kyle Repizon, Kelly May Repizo, Joan Sespene, Ronaldo Sison, Victor Torrizo, Viccina Torrizo, Allen Vincent Torrizo, Badette Villagracia, Art Raym,ond Villagracia, Candelaria Dublois, Tony Rose Duran and Wandale Laquihon.

Their journey out of troubled Haiti began via the dusty road route from the Haitian capital of Port-au Prince to the neighboring capital city of Sto. Domingo in the Dominican Republic, then air flights to the cities of Florida and Los Angeles in the United States and finally to Manila.

Most have lost their passports but were issued Philippine travel documents and granted transit visas under the auspices of the Corsino team.

The DFA and the Department of Labor and Employment shouldered the cost of their repatriation.

Amidst the tragedy and continuing recovery efforts in the ravaged country, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has conveyed her message of sympathy and condolences to Haitian President Rene Garcia Preval.

“It is our fervent wish that Haiti recovers quickly and fully from the tragedy,” she said.

The Philippine Government has contributed US$ 50,000 for relief efforts in Haiti. A medical team is now on the scene in Port-au Prince assisting relief agencies in the ongoing humanitarian efforts.

The team, led by Dr. Emmanuel Bueno, consists of general and orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, public health emergency specialists, sanitary engineers, an internal medicine specialist, a pediatrician, a psychologist and a social worker.

They brought with them supplies and equipment worth P13 million (about US$ 278,000) which will be donated later to the Government of Haiti.

About 290 Filipinos lived and worked in Haiti as missionaries, volunteers, United Nations administrative personnel, and business executives.

The repatriates would stay at a facility of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Pasay City while making final plans for their next move.

They will also be provided transport assistance to their hometowns, and offered livelihood assistance packages by OWWA.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development will also provide counseling to help them get over the trauma. (PNA)

vcs/GJB

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