Three retired teachers missing in China

Missing in China: From left, Erlinda Varela Guce, Pacita Varela De Guzman, and Josefina Varela Baysic. (JF Guce)

Three retired Filipino teachers flying home from the U.S. have been missing for one week in China, where their flight had a stopover last 10 August.

John Florencio Guce, son of Erlinda Varela Guce, 72, one of the missing women, said his mother, Pacita Varela de Guzman, 77, and Josefina Varela Baysic, 71, were scheduled to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 11:10 p.m. of 10 August.

However, Guce said his cousin, Marlon David, told him that Mrs. Guce called the latter using a borrowed phone saying their flight was cancelled and they were stranded in China due to bad weather.

Mrs. Guce also told David in the call made early Sunday, 11 August, that their connecting flight to the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai was rescheduled and the airline was giving them accommodation and food while waiting for their flight.

David also relayed to the young Guce his mother’s instruction for them to not wait for them at NAIA and go home.

According to John Florencio, David called the phone number that Mrs. Guce used also on Sunday but was told that he was no longer with the three seniors and that his flight to the Philippines was rescheduled the following day.

John Florencio called the airline’s office in Manila to check the rebooked flight of his mother but was referred to the Shanghai and US office.

Another relative of the Guces reported the three missing women to the Philippine consulate in Shanghai. The consulate told the relative that Chinese immigration is already looking for the Filipinas.

Meanwhile, David’s brother, Michael Anthony, learned from a friend in China that the flight of the missing women did not land in Pudong but in Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Hubei province due to bad weather.

Michael Anthony’s friend also informed that he called the airline’s Eastern Shanghai office but was told that there were no records of the three senior citizens checking into a local hotel and boarding their rescheduled flight to Pudong.

The relatives of Mrs. Guce said they are worried why she could not make another call and will seek help from the airline’s local office and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

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p: wjg