The Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv assisted the first batch of 53 Filipinos under the Voluntary Repatriation Program (VRP) of Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority (PIBA) as they flew onboard a flight bound for Manila via Istanbul on 01 October 2020. The flight arrived in Manila on 02 October 2020.
Also included in the flight were the following: a lady with a medical case escorted by the Embassy’s Welfare Officer Dina Ponciano, six senior citizens (the oldest at 70), a student, and a one-and-a-half-month-old baby born in Israel who was issued an emergency travel document by the embassy.
On this positive development, Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial said, “The Embassy expresses its great appreciation to PIBA for arranging the repatriation of Filipinos who have long wanted to go home but were stranded due to the global pandemic starting in March and the series of lockdowns imposed by the Israeli government. Many of them have overstayed their visas in Israel, and I am glad that they will be able to at last reunite with their families after a long absence.”
Imperial further stated, “Through the VRP, the Embassy and PIBA have been working together since last year to ensure a humane and orderly treatment for Filipinos with no valid visas to enable them to return to the Philippines. The Embassy evaluates the applications and endorses them to PIBA, for further assessment and approval. VRP grantees are exempt from arrest and detention, and are provided free plane tickets to the Philippines.”
“The Embassy would also like to thank our kind-hearted kababayan who have not stopped providing support and assistance to the stranded Filipinos and those affected by the lockdowns”, the Ambassador added.
The second batch of 36 VRP grantees will depart Tel Aviv on 05 October 2020 and arrived in Manila the next day.