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My name is Roberta Cozzolino, I am a 29 years old Marine Biologist from Italy and I need help to go back to my home country.
During the last year I have been working as Field Scientist for People and the Sea, a community-driven marine conservation organization based on Malapascua Island, in the region of Central Visaya, in the Philippines.
With the priceless help of dedicated volunteers coming from all over the world, People and the Sea takes care of the marine environment around Malapascua Island, conducting monthly surveys and protecting this fragile environment with a comprehensive approach that starts and ends with a thorough engagement with the local community.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has hit hard all aspects of our lives and its impact has spread to all countries across the world, Philippines included – drastically affecting the small community of Malapascua largely based on tourism.
At the beginning of March, as the enhanced community quarantine started to be globally implemented, our volunteers took the hard decision to early end their expedition and go back to their country for safety reasons.
At that time, I had two choices: going back home before an even more strict lock-down, or stay here and keep helping the community as I could, keeping faith in my commitment with them.
It wasn't easy, but I chose to stay. First, because the COVID-19 was already widespread in Italy and I knew that I was going to be safer here; secondly, because my dad was undergoing chemotherapy and I wanted to avoid exposing him to useless risks.
My job contact was going to expire at the end of April and I naively thought that, by the due date, the global situation would have been clearer and safer.
Of course, I was wrong.
Day after day, an always more strict quarantine was implemented: as a consequence, airports were shut down, flight companies started to cancel flights and traveling became always more complicated.
At the same time, my job contract expired and, being fully funded by volunteer expeditions, People and the Sea wasn't able to renew it.
I tried to reach for the Italian Embassy and for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, but I didn't receive any useful help. The Italian Government is working very slowly to repatriate stranded citizens and, with the Philippines being an archipelago, also the internal travel for reaching Manila is everything but easy.
As for now, the quarantine in Manila has been extended until the end of May and, as a consequence, the flights and ferry boats have been systematically canceled.
In order to have easier access to international flights, I should reach Manila but for now I am stuck on Malapascua Island and my savings are running out.
If anyone will decide to contribute to my repatriation, I would be more than grateful.
Here is how I am going to use the funds I will receive:
- Boat transfer from Malapascua Island to the mainland (Daanbantayan).
- Travel arrangement from Daanbantayan to Cebu City – due to social distancing and safety reasons, only private cars are allowed to travel, as public transportation is still suspended.
- Ferry boat ticket from Cebu to Manila – ideally via 2GO Travel, which at the moment is less expensive than any flight company.
- International flight ticket from Philippines to Italy.
As for now, any help would be very much appreciated and wiould make a huge difference for me.
UpdateUpdate posted by Roberta Cozzolino at 01:58 pm
Quando dico che durante questo viaggio è successo di tutto, intendo che è successo VERAMENTE di tutto.A fine aprile, al termine del mio contratto di lavoro, le Filippine erano ancora in ECQ e lo sarebbero state ancora almeno fino al 15 di maggio. Dopo quella data, i voli per raggiungere. . . . .
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