(DFA ASec Elmer Cato (seated, 2nd from right) and CIAC president-CEO Alexander Cauguiran (seated, 3rd from right) along with the staff of the Regional Consular Offices in Angeles City and San Fernando attend to an OFW who was stranded after her flight was cancelled at the Clark International Airport during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong. Photo Courtesy of Jojo C. Due/CIAC-Corporate Communications Office)
OVERSEAS Filipino workers (OFWs) whose flights in Clark were affected by Typhoon Ompong on Saturday were given P5,000.00 cash assistance each from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Elmer Cato, DFA assistant secretary who supervised the desks, said Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano himself instructed the regional consular office staff based in Angeles City and San Fernando to setup the assistance center inside the terminal of the Clark International Airport.
Cato added the DFA staff began processing claims early morning of Saturday to ensure that stranded OFWs will be given assistance to cover for their meals, accommodation and other expenses.
Operations staff of the Clark International Airport Corp (CIAC) also helped in the process, Cato said.
The DFA’s assistance desk was to receive at least 100 OFWs traveling through Clark whose scheduled flights were cancelled due to the inclement weather.
“Government presence here at Clark is definitely felt for our stranded kababayans, thanks to President Duterte and DFA Secretary Cayetano,” Alex Cauguiran, CIAC president, who was also overseeing terminal operations, said.
Glicelito Nelmida, an OFW whose flight to Hong Kong was cancelled, traveled with his family and friends all the way from La Union to send him off.
“I am thankful for the government’s cash assistance as I was really worried because of the cancelled flight but this (cash assistance) will help pay for our transportation expenses back to my hometown,” Nelmida said.
CIAC said international flights cancelled as of Saturday morning include Hong Kong (Cathay Dragon and Cebu Pacific), Singapore (Air Swift and Jetstar), and Macau (CebPac).
Areas placed by authorities under the strongest typhoon warning are several provinces where frequent travelers of Clark airport come from such as Cagayan, Isabela, Apayao, Abra, the Ilocos provinces, Batanes, La Union, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Benguet, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, and northern Aurora.