Two hundred sixty (260) student interns from thirty (30) State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) who are under Student Internship Abroad Program (SIAP) in Israel have been safely repatriated to the Philippines through the joint effort of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Department of Transportation (DOTr).
The student interns have completed their eleven (11) months of international internship/training under the Granot Agrostudies Program in Israel.
Last July, CHED through Commission en banc Resolution No. 396-2020 suspended all foreign internships for AY 2020-2021 to protect the health of the students and instructed all higher education institutions (HEIs) 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. With the collaborative effort of the Commission and its partner government agencies and stakeholders, out of the 599 student interns deployed in Israel, 260 have already returned to the country on October 14,” De Vera said.
These returning students will be staying at the University Pad in Manila for their mandatory quarantine while waiting for the RT-PCR Swab testing result 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 immediately for swab testing upon arrival at their quarantine facility.
“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 to NAIA. 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.
“The Commission thanks Embassy of the Philippines in Tel Aviv and DFA Office of the Middle East and African Affairs (OMEAA) for their decisive support in the repatriation of student interns from Israel upon the completion of their internship,” he added.
The Commission also lauds the support given by the Task Group on Management of Returning Overseas Filipinos (TGM-ROF) headed by BGen Cesar B. Yano, Department of Transportation (DOTr), Philippine Army (PA), Civil-Military Operations Regiment, and RRCG Transport System Co. Inc., who assisted the students upon their arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), through the conduct of swab testing, and the transport of student interns from the airport to their quarantine facility. The collaboration between the different agencies shows the whole-of-nation approach of government during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The remaining 312 student-interns are expected to arrive on October 21 (258 students) and October 24 (54 students).
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III
Commission on Higher Education