Hundreds of disgruntled Overseas Filipino Workers from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have flocked to the offices of PEYA Travel for an alarming rate on non-issuance and unconfirmed bookings for flights back home. Expectant OFWs trooped to the airport for their flights back home only to be told by ground stewardesses that their names were not reflected on the manifests. Scores of angry Filipina domestics have aired their sides, crying their eyes out as their hopes of coming home for the Christmas holidays are slowly slipping them by.
Some have already called the hotlines of various airlines plying the Hong Kong Philippines route in the hopes of getting their names and flights verified for their much awaited trips back home, often getting their hopes dashed after either receiving responses that their flights have been cancelled or their supposed bookings have not been actually forwarded to them. Such news has demoralized the OFWs who have been waiting for some time to savor the Philippine season of Christmas with their loved ones. A lot of the OFWs are not taking the news sitting down as they have come forward, seeking redress for the mismanagement of PEYA Travel who assured them previously that they have the capability to get them on flights home.
While PEYA Travel has issued statements that the workers would be given refunds for their payments, the processing of these refunds would take at least 48 hours – time which these OFWs obviously do not have in abundance. While their ticket payments may have been shouldered by their employers as is the law in Hong Kong SAR, the loss of their time cannot be fully compensated by PEYA Travel. More alarming is that with the Christmas rush, most of these displaced OFWs would surely have a difficult time getting themselves booked and ticketed for flights back to the country unless something is done to alleviate their plights. The flights would also tend to be priced higher which of course the OFWs have to shoulder out of pocket.
With the rebooking of flights entailing additional funds that these OFWs do not have, it is becoming clearer that sanctions would have to be levelled against the erring company. While they may survive the financial backlash of so many cancelled bookings, they should be penalized for not coming up with the requisite number of tickets as they have promised their clients in the first place. Their clients suffer because of their inefficient system and to think that the people behind PEYA Travel are reputedly Filipinos – which is a double black eye since this would also reflect poorly on the image of Filipinos abroad.
Majority of the people who have been duped by PEYA Travel are domestics – one of the biggest sectors of OFWs working in Hong Kong SAR and also one of the biggest recognized sectors who supported the present administration. The Duterte Administration would do well to create some steps that would alleviate the suffering of these workers who only yearn to feel the love of their loved ones for a few days during the Christmas season.