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Sen. Manglona: 20 NMI patients, escorts still in Philippines

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THE 20 CNMI medical referral patients and their escorts are still in the Philippines because Philippine Airlines canceled its flight scheduled for June 12, Sen. Paul A. Manglona said.

But he said he is thankful that Maria Takai, the CNMI Medical Referral Services administrative officer, “is on top of their predicament and is doing her best to coordinate and reschedule flights for their earliest return.”

“Stranded in the Philippines inside their hotel rooms, our patients are hopeful that help will come [and they will be] home safely soon and be reunited with their families,” Manglona said. “For two families, it means coming back home to bury their loved ones who passed away while on medical referral in the Philippines.”

Philippine Airlines or PAL announced on June 15 that its June 2020 flight schedules “are highly subject to change for reasons beyond our control; these are not normal times.”

PAL further said it may have to cancel, increase or adjust its planned flights, based on the following:

  • Entry restrictions and requirements set by local government units for domestic travel, which change day to day.
  • Covid-19 testing/quarantine limitations for international arrivals in the Philippines.
  • Travel bans and restrictions in other countries.

PAL stated that it coordinates closely with all local governments and other government authorities.

“We comply with all approvals and conditions. We all work together to protect public health during these critical times,” PAL added.

In February and in May, two of the CNMI medical referral patients in Manila passed away while waiting for a flight back home. Due to Covid-19 issues, their remains have yet to be brought to the CNMI.

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