Flights of Hope

Sunday October 1, 2017

"Salamat Po!"... "Maraming salamat po!" These words resonated at the arrival area of NAIA Terminal 2 last September 20 as more than 100 distressed overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) deplaned from a Philippine Airlines Airbus A340 jet that repatriated them from the Caribbean Sea islands that were hard hit by Hurricane Irma, the most catastrophic storm in the Atlantic since 2005. Pierre John Capistrano, a native of Talisay, Cebu who worked as a nurse in Anguilla in the Caribbean, is one of the repatriates who was welcomed by the government and PAL officials at the terminal. Clad in gray walking shorts and a black round-collar shirt, Pierre was teary eyed as he related the story of how Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the island paradise. “Nandun ako sa second floor ng apartment na tinitirahan ko. On the day the hurricane hit, I saw giant tornadoes whirling outside the streets. Then it hit the building where I was staying. Our concrete apartment, a hurricane-proof building, was shaking so strong as if there was an earthquake. The winds banged and eventually broke the glass windows around my room. Good thing I was not hurt. Nagtago ako sa sofa at mga cabinet,” relates Pierre of that dreadful day. “Devastated ang island. The economy is down as the territory relies heavily on tourism. No job, no power, no water. Safety was also a concern as people started looting,” added Pierre who was able to save only a backpack of clothes after the hurricane. Pierre, who has only been working on the island for a year, was grateful for the immediate arrival of the PAL repatriation flight that was arranged by the Department of Foreign Affairs through the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC. “Wala akong masabi sa mabilis na tulong na ipinaabot...... Read more on Full Issue!

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