MANILA -- The government is looking to bring home before Christmas hundreds of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are stuck in Hong Kong after their flight bookings were not confirmed on time by their travel agency.

With this, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they are coordinating with Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of National Defense (DND) and Philippine Airlines (PAL) for the Filipinos to be brought back home as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We have the instructions from President Duterte na iuwi namin kayo (OFWs) before Christmas. (We have the instructions from President Duterte to bring you home before Christmas.) So nakausap na namin ang (We have talked to) PAL and they will update their flights, baka ma-accomodate sila one by one (they might be accommodated one by one). Yung mga stranded diyan, makakauwi (Those who were stranded there will be able to go home) in two to three days before Christmas,” he said in a television interview.

Mayroon kaming (We have an) arrangement ni Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano and DND for the use of their C130. We will see to it in two to three days maiiuwi kayo sa Pilipinas (you will be able to go home to the Philippines) to share the Christmas season with your family,” Bello added.

At the same time, the DOLE chief said that they already communicated with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) with regards to the possible liability of travel agency.

Mayroon na kaming (We already have) communication with the NBI to arrest them so they could be charged in court,” he said, adding that they could be charged with large-scale estafa, a non-bailable offense.

Kapag nahuli iyan, di na iyan makakalabas. (Once caught, they cannot go out.) We have the services of the NBI to look for these people involved sa bagong scam na ito na matindi, (in this new scam which is something intense)” Bello added. (PNA)