BY ALEX DADAMU
WITH the dates of repatriation flights to bring back Solomon Islands students studying in the Philippines less than 3 weeks from now, more than 30 Self-Sponsored Students studying in the Philippines were being informed that they were to meet their own Air-fares back to Honiara during the repatriation flights.
President of the SI Philippines Students Association (SIPSA) Aurthur Mola in a statement confirmed the arrangement stating that Solomon Islands Government (SIG) has informed him that the repatriation flights are commercial Flights operated by the National Courier, Solomon Airlines.
“Just today Wednesday 26th August SIG informed me that our self-sponsored students will going to pay for their own airfares/tickets as they said all three repatriation flights are commercial flights.
“This is not welcoming for our self-sponsored students since all along their study costs were footed by their hardworking parents alone. Now that on last minute notice they push the airfares on parents shoulder again – this is very sad and frustrating both on the part of both parents and students,” the Student’s Association President stressed.
He pointed out that regardless of whether a student is self-sponsored or SIG Sponsored, all students all SI Citizens.
“One thing I want to stress here is that all of us are SI citizens regardless if some are under SIG sponsorship and others private sponsorship. If those of us under SIG sponsorship will come back home then what will be happen to our fellow brothers and sisters who under private sponsorship? I suggest the government must reconsider her/this decision.
President Mola, on behalf of the Self-sponsored students’ appeals to the Parents and Guardians to help address the issue as soon as possible.
“I, on behalf of the Self-sponsored students’ would like to make this humble appeal to the parents and guardians to please step in and pursue any possible alternative or appropriate avenue to address this issue as soon as possible seeing that the first repatriation flight is just weeks away from now,” he expressed.
In an announcement which was most welcome by both parents and students, the government earlier has announced that the Cabinet has approved the repatriation of over 340 Solomon Islands students studying in the Philippines both private and SIG sponsored.
The COVID-19 oversight committee has already approved three (3) repatriation flights which is on 15th September, 18th September and 22nd October respectively to repatriate the SI Philippine students.