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'Pilipinas, sa wakas!': Pinay expat shares journey from UAE to PH

With more flights now available from the UAE to the Philippines and vice versa, many more Filipinos are now able to return to the country to start new lives back home.
Pinay expat Rhoze Ampuan shared that she first contacted several travel agencies to help her find affordable flight deals.
“Maraming flights, pero napakamahal hanggang Dhs4000. Nakipagugnayan kami sa isang travel agency para makauwi ngayong July sa mas murang halaga. Dapat ang flight namin July 11, pero na-cancel at na-move sa August 17. Buti na lang at nagpatuloy kaming makipag usap sa travel agency dahil nahanapan nila kami ng flight para makauwi ng July 12,” said Ampuan.
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Online registrations required

Prior to their flights, Ampuan stated that OFWs headed back to the Philippines need to register on two portals: Philippine Red Cross and the OWWA-OASIS platforms
“Nabasa namin na kailangang mag-register dito para mas mapabilis ang proseso pagkalapag mo sa Pilipinas. Nag register kami sa Philippine Red Cross: ecif.redcross.com.ph para sa QR code ng swab test, at sa OWWA-OASIS: http://oasis.owwa.gov.ph para makuha namin ang benepisyo bilang mga OFW gaya ng libreng accomodation habang quarantine at transporasyon,” said Ampuan.
When they landed, Ampuan prepared herself for the worst as she read that the experiences of other OFWs had been troublesome: “Sabi nila mahaba daw pila, matagal, mag-baon ng madaming pasensya, mabagal ung assistance etc… so I prepared myself na baka ganun nga.”
However, she was impressed with how the Philippine government and the aviation authorities handled their return systematically.
“When we landed in NAIA Terminal 3, we were welcomed by the Philippine Coast Guard, they are helping to organize the procedure for the Pinoys. Sila nag-eenfoce ng order atsaka ng pila. Super organized na sila mula sa airport personnel, OWWA, pati na ang kanilang partner transport sa quarantine. Dahil sa dami ng tao, medyo may problema sa social distancing pero napansin ko na pina-priotize nila yung mga senior citizen, mga buntis, mga people with disabilities which is really nice,” said Ampuan.
READ ON: DFA to repatriate up to 37,000 OFWs by end of July

Free swab tests and quarantine facility
Ampuan said that the next procedure is to submit the health declaration card to the airport personnel and to head to the Philippine Red Cross Area.
“We were directed towards the Philippine Red Cross Area where we need to show the QR Code emailed to us upon registration in their website. During waiting for our turn at the counter (it took around 3 minutes waiting time for me as I was almost last at the line), a staff was announcing the process and briefing us on what to expect on the Swab Testing Area. They also assist the other people who’s not aware of the procedure and guiding them on how to register,” said Ampuan.
Their QR codes were then scanned, with stickers placed on their passports and the rest given to the nurses at the swab testing area. Once the swab tests are done, they were sent to the immigration counter and eventually, to the OWWA area for their quarantine facility assignment.
“We lined up for 30 minutes but it was fast knowing that there are about 300+ OFW (mostly from UAE, some from Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Kuwait, etc) who flew as well. While queueing in line, we were given an OWWA form you need to fill up with details about you and your final destination in the Philippines. This will be collected and will be their basis for the hotel quarantine procedure. On the counter, they will scan again your Red Cross QR Code for verification and they will inform you of your quarantine facility,” said Ampuan.

All passengers then got the chance to get their baggage and were taken to their respective quarantine facilities.
Ampuan shares how grateful she was that she managed to enjoy and gain over six years of fruitful experiences in Dubai.
“Ang dami kong natutunang mga bagay na tingin ko talagang sa UAE ko lang matututunan, lalo na sa pakikitungo sa iba’t ibang tao. Tinuruan ako ng UAE na mas maging mapagpasensya at maunawain sa aking kapwa at higit sa lahat, tinuruan ako ng bansang ito na maging mapagpasalamat sa lahat ng biyaya at aral na aking dadalhin saan man ako mapunta,” said Ampuan.

Neil Bie

Neil Bie is the Assistant Editor for The Filipino Times, responsible for gathering news that will resonate among OFW readers in the UAE, Philippines, and around 200 countries, where the platform reaches both Filipinos and worldwide audiences. ||| Get in touch with Neil at: Facebook: Neil Bie ||| Email: [email protected]||| or by sending a message to the Facebook page of The Filipino Times at: https://www.facebook.com/FilipinoTimes/

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