- Hundreds of Filipino workers in Hong Kong were sold bogus tickets by a travel agency
- President Duterte ordered various agencies to bring the OFWs home for Christmas
- The government is also looking into using a military plane for the stranded Filipinos
The Philippine government is working with Philippine Airlines to rescue hundreds of stranded overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong.
Almost 1,000 OFWs were given fake plane tickets by Peya Travel. Most of the tickets were bought months in advance and were only discovered to be non-valid when the OFWs presented them to the airport this week.
In a report by GMA News Online, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they are now coordinating with Philippine Airlines and the Department of National Defense (DND) to secure flights for the affected OFWs.
He said President Rodrigo Duterte instructed them to bring the OFWs home before Christmas.
Bello said that PAL confirmed arranging for additional seats in their Hong Kong to Manila flights for the OFWs.
"They commited na 'yung stranded diyan makakauwi in two or three days so makakarating kayo before Christmas," said Bello.
The secretary also said they are requesting Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to use a C-130 plane so they can fly the OFWs home.
"I'm just waiting for the head of office in charge of the C-130 for us to be able to give the details kung ilan at kung sinu-sino 'yung mga isasakay nila," said Bello.
Some of the affected OFWs already bought another ticket, using their pocket money, just to get home.
Others, however, lamented that they do not have enough money to buy another ticket.
Another problem facing the OFWs is the Christmas rush. Almost all airlines with Hong Kong to Manila route are nearly fully booked until Christmas.
Cathay Pacific Airways, Philippine Airlines, and Cebu Pacific have expressed desire to help the affected passengers.
Cathay Pacific has already offered special discounted fare for the OFWs.
Peya Travel, the agency responsible for the invalid tickets, has issued an apology on Facebook.
DOLE will be looking into the possibility of filing a large-scale estafa case against the travel agency.