A German national, stranded and financially broke after visiting a local lass whom he met through social media, has sought help to go back to his country.
Matthias Gurtler, 45, is presently under the care of Barangay San Miguel officials. He is requesting the local Bureau of Immigration (BI) to communicate with the German Embassy so he can be helped to go home.
Gurtler said he was left behind by his Air Asia flight at the Puerto Princesa City International Airport (PPCIA) on September 19. Since then, he has been sleeping inside the barangay hall of San Miguel.
Matthias Gurtler with the barangay tanod and officials of Barangay San Miguel who are helping him.
In an interview with Palawan News, Gurtler said he confirmed his flight with Air Asia on September 17, two days before his departure. But upon arrival on September 19, he was told by airline personnel that his name was not on the manifest.
He said he asked the staff to help him, but he was told they could not contact their head office.
Gurtler said he also went to the immigration personnel at Robinson’s Place Palawan, but they told him to contact Air Asia instead.
“I was supposed to go back on September 19 and Air Asia said okay your booking is perfect, you can go to the airport. But at the airport, they said my name was not on the computer. I said, please help me to call your chief in Manila, but I was told they cannot call their chief in Manila. Then I went to the embassy (immigration), but I was told to call Air Asia,” Gurtler said in broken English.
“I was very, very worried. Then I went back to the airport and then I saw a man, he works at the airport, and I talked with him, and he said how can he help me and he said I should go to Air Asia office. At the Air Asia office, they cannot do anything,” he added.
Without money for food and accommodation, Gurtler said he is thankful for the barangay tanod and officials of San Miguel who are helping him now.
He said the German Embassy had already been contacted with the help of concerned individuals. It told him to wait for two days before he can go fly back to Frankfurt.
The Palawan News team found out that the Gurtler went to Palawan to visit his Filipina girlfriend whom he met on Facebook.
Their relationship was good at first, he said, but after weeks of staying with the Filipina whose name he did not mention, she allegedly threatened him by pointing a knife at him and drove him out of her house.
Gurtler said he left and stayed in a hotel, but has run out of money after staying in the country since August.
Gurtler departed from Frankfurt on August 17 and arrived in the city on August 19 to meet his girlfriend.
San Miguel barangay councilor Elmo Brillante, who volunteered to help Gurtler, said that this is not the first time they catered foreign tourists having problems at the airport.
He said oftentimes, the airport management forwards tourists having flight issues to be under their custody.
Brillante also said that as of now, they are helping Gurtler by providing him food because Gurtler does not have money anymore.
He also asked for any help that the Palaweños could offer to Gurtler.
“Sasamantalahin ko na ang pagkakataon na ito dahil walang wala na talaga ito (Guntler). Kami na lang ang sumusuporta, si kapitan at ang barangay council na lang ang sumusuporta. Kahit pang-kape at pangkain niya lang, baka meron tayong mga kababayan dito sa Puerto Princesa na gustong tumulong sa kanya dahil hirap na rin siya. Tulungan natin,” Brillante said.