The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has sent note verbales asking other countries to help stranded Filipino seafarers amid a coronavirus pandemic that has sickened more than 30 million and killed 950,000 people worldwide.
The agency asked that Filipino seamen be allowed to dock at their ports and disembark, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido D. Dulay said at an online briefing on Friday.
The note verbale also sought assistance from these countries to help bring home the Filipino workers, he said.
Mr. Dulay said 127 Filipino seafarers have applied for repatriation, based on reports from Philippine embassies and consulates worldwide.
Meanwhile Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel said DFA should ask Japan to continue rescue operations for 36 Filipino seamen whose cargo vessel sank on Sept. 2.
In a letter to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., the lawmaker said the agency should push the Japanese government to continue and expand search and rescue efforts.
“I recognize the valuable work DFA has done in keeping the families abreast of developments vis-a-vis search and rescue operations, but I also understand the desperation, frustration, and helplessness the families must be feeling during this difficult period,” Ms. Baraquel said in the letter dated Sept. 17. — Charmaine A. Tadalan