The Philippine Embassy in Bangkok is ready to support Filipinos in Thailand affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The Embassy has also assigned teams to assist in emergency cases seven days a week.
Consul Michael Garcia said in an meeting with PinoyThaiyo on March 23.
According to Garcia, the Embassy can help in repatriating affected OFWs as part of the long term contingency plan since resources are limited and no one knows how long the crisis will last. Garcia also said that the Embassy has been constantly monitoring the situation to provide appropriate help though he also said that there is no specific action for procuring food as of Monday last week.
It can be remembered that during Bangkok’s great flood in 2011, the Embassy distributed food supplies to OFWs affected by the flood which lasted for almost two months.
On Monday, the Embassy also started issuing “Request Letter” to help Filipinos with visa problems. Thai Immigration allowed a 30-day visa extension for stranded foreigners due to COVID-19. The Embassy also added contact numbers Filipinos and other clients may reach in order to provide faster assistance and services.
+66 84 360 8405 – Request for endorsement of visa extension applications with Thai immigration authorities
+66 89 926 5954 – Queries on urgent consular concerns like passport extensions, expiring visas and work permits
+66 81 989 7116 – Assistance to Nationals (ATN) concerns such as accidents, repatriations and deaths
To request for a letter, you can email email@example.com. Garcia said that the Embassy would respond and issue a “request letter” within two days.
Garcia also clarified that the Embassy is open to assist in emergency cases. It only reduced some consular services to focus on providing assistance to the Filipino community. He also seeks understanding and cooperation among Filipinos to help in cutting the transmission of the virus.
Advice to OFWs
Consul Garcia urged the Filipino community to stay at home and follow instructions by Thai government. He is also discouraging nationals to come to the Embassy as it may cause transmission of the virus. He asked Filipinos and other clients to call or send an email instead.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha declared a state of emergency on Thursday, March 26 until April 30 in a move to curb the spread of the virus. As of March 28, a total of 1,245 have been infected by COVID-19. All Thai borders have also been closed.
Meanwhile, Garcia said that the new Ambassador is expected to arrive in June. Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary Millicent Cruz-Paredes’ appointment as the new ambassador to Thailand was confirmed on March 11.
DOLE / OWWA OFW assistance of 10,000 PHP
As of writing, the Embassy is seeking clarification to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regarding the 10,000 PHP one-time financial assistance to affected OFWs. As per reply of an OWWA Board of Trustee that PinoyThaiyo had contacted on March 26, there are no implementing rules regarding the 10,000 government support to OFWs yet.
PinoyThaiyo will update OFWs in Thailand once the implementing rules and regulations for the release of the 10,000 PHP DOLE support is made available.