Stranded Pinoys to take Spanish-chartered repatriation flight back to Madrid
By Sandra Sotelo Aboy
Picture: Couple Apolinario and Lorenza Fernandez are among the Spanish citizens returning to Madrid via the repatriation flight scheduled on April 23.
BARCELONA – Several Filipinos with Spanish citizenships are among the passengers that are confirmed to take the Iberian flight to bring Spanish citizens back to Madrid on April 23.
The chartered flight was arranged by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an effort to assist Spanish nationals who are in the Philippines during the declaration of State of Alarm and have expressed their wish to return to Spain.
The Iberian flight will depart from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Thursday, April 23 at 23.355h en route to Madrid with expected arrival at 09.45h, local time.
Filipino couple Apolinario Fernandez (62) and wife Lorenza (60), both Spanish citizens, will be taking this repatriation flight. They were on vacation in San Manuel, Pangasinan since February 15 and were supposed to fly back to Spain on March 20, but got stranded when Spain, as well as Luzon, were put into lockdown.
In a phone interview with the couple’s daughter, Myrna Fernandez, she told Pinoy Portal Europe that her parents didn’t mind staying longer in the Philippines, as they are staying with relatives. However, her mother Lorenza decided to fly back to Spain after talking to her employer who informed her of the possibility that international frontiers may remain closed until the end of the year.
Lorenza’s employer subsequently contacted the MFA and arranged that the couple be included in the repatriation flight.
“Kami po mas gusto po sana namin na doon pa po sila pero nasa parents ko pa rin po ang desisyon, (For me and my siblings, we would rather that they remain in the Philippines, but still, it is their decision),” Fernandez said.
She added that her parents are in good physical health which eases their worry on their upcoming travel.
The confirmed passengers taking the repatriation flight are coming from different parts of the Philippines such as Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, Batangas, Cavite, Zambales and Manila.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has helped almost 24,000 Spanish travellers return from different parts of the world since the State of Alarm was decreed in Spain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Ministry’s official web page.