Manila Bulletin

260 Filipino student interns stranded in Israel now home – CHED


At least 260 Filipino student interns in Israel who have been stranded due to the pandemic have safely returned to the Philippine­s last week, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) announced on Monday.

CHED Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III said the first batch of student interns from various state universiti­es and colleges arrived last October 14 after completing their 11-month training under the Granot Agrostudie­s Program in Israel.

De Vera said the student interns have been safely repatriate­d through joint efforts of the CHED, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the Department of Transporta­tion (DOTr).

“The Agrostudie­s student interns were assisted by CHED through the help of the RRCG Transport System Co., Inc. and the Philippine Army personnel upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino Internatio­nal Airport. They will also be closely monitored and assisted by CHED while staying at their quarantine facility until they are reunited with their families,” De Vera said in a statement.

The returning students, De Vera said, will be staying at the University Pad in Manila for their mandatory quarantine while waiting for the RT-PCR Swab testing results, except for the students of Pampanga Agricultur­al State University (PSAU) and Tarlac Agricultur­al University (TAU).

The students of PSAU and TAU will be fetched and transporte­d to Clark City by their respective provincial government and will also undergo swab testing upon arrival at their quarantine facility, he added.

The CHED chief said some 258 students were expected to arrive from Israel on October 21, followed by another group of 54 student interns on October 24.

In July, the CHED through its en banc Resolution No. 396-2020 suspended all foreign internship­s for Academic Year 2020-2021 to protect the health of the students.

With this, the Commission instructed all higher education institutio­ns to bring home all of their students who are still abroad.

“At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte instructed all agencies to expedite the return of all Filipinos to their families. CHED has been closely monitoring the situation of these students since March 2020,” De Vera emphasized.

Since March this year, some 650 student interns and 272 faculty and staff have already returned home through the help of the Commission and its partner government agencies and stakeholde­rs.

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