BalikBayani République | Tony Alabastro
As of March 13, Department of Foreign Affairs has repatriated 387,606 overseas Filipinos since it first started repatriating in February 2020 Filipinos affected by pandemic.
Jakarta has secured safety of all Filipinos in Indonesia either as stranded tourists and transitioning expatriates whose visas were expiring but could not be processed due to PSBB (Large Scale Social Restriction) imposed by the Indonesian government to curtail spread of Covid19, according to Philippine Business Club Indonesia (PBCI), the only Indonesian government-registered Filipino organization.
“Of 389 Filipinos who went home, Philippine Embassy directly assisted 135 Filipinos stranded in Indonesia. The Department of Foreign Affairs awarded the Embassy with a Special Citation for the repatriation flight for Filipinos stranded because of Covid19 pandemic,” says Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Leehiong Tan Wee.
“To assist unemployed and unable to go home OFWs due to travel re-strictions, Embassy became the Home Office’s ad-hoc Rapid Response Team.
“Philippine Embassy remains in touch withIndonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health to monitor welfare of Filipinos during Covid19.
“ Of over 8,000 Filipinos in Indonesia, most are white collar professionals- engineers, architects, accountants, teachers, managers, finance officers, etc.
“There are no licensed Filipino medical professionals (doctors, nurses, dentists, medical technologists, etc.) working in the Indonesian health system. These professions are held by Indonesians.
“Because of the value of Filipino overseas workers, there has been no report of widespread mass termination of their employment.
“Filipino workers who have gone home either voluntarily resigned or took a break while their projects have been suspended for a few months.
“Overseas Filipino workers are to return soon as operations resume and costs of repatriation were fully borne by their employers,” Wee says.
Philippine Business Club Indonesia (PBCI) nominated Indonesia Law & Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly for biennial Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations as Kaanib ng Bayan – “one of us” – honoring foreign citizens or groups who assisted Philippines and its people,” says PBCI Secretary General Norwin Mark Castro.
“Minister Yasonna Laoly has done so much to accommodate the Filipinos in Indonesia while opening doors for deeper relations with Philippine government.
“Minister Laoly coordinated with Directorate General of Immigration to craft a policy effecting such changes thereby benefitting Filipinos – and other foreigners,” says Castro.
US educated Minister Laoly, 67, who loves Frank Sinatra, “is the highest-ranking Indonesian government official ever to visit the Embassy.”
Castro leads Southeast Asian operations of a private trade and investment advisory firm providing sustainability solutions in ASEAN’s US$2.6 trillion, 622 million people market.
He manages 887+ members of Pinoy Expat Community Viber Group, over 1,800 members of Pinoys in Jakarta, and Pinoy Expats Indonesia.
The Vigan bahay-na-bato and nipper hut-inspired Philippine Embassy Chancery with New Indies Style facade is in same Menteng District, Central Jakarta address since it opened 1949.
Former Indonesian Presidents Suharto and Megawati, and Vice President Adam Malik took up residence in affluent Menteng. Ex-US President Barack Obama spent his childhood in Menteng where he attended local schools.