Overseas Filipinos (OFs) line-up as they check-in for their flight back to Manila. | Photo Dubai PCG
MANILA – In its continuing COVID-19 related repatriation assistance program, an additional 10,573 overseas Filipinos were brought home recently by land and sea, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. This brings the total number of repatriated Filipinos from all over the world to 135,290 as of August 15. This is an increase of 34,793 OFs from 90,497 reported last month.
Recent arrivals came from the Middle East totalling 8,112 through commercial and DFA-chartered flights. Of the total, almost 50% or 3,072 arrived from United Arab Emirates (UAE) most of whom availed of the government’s amnesty for overstayhing residence and tourist visa holders.
DFA said that among those repatriated from UAE are considered as priority for repatriation, namely: pregnant women, those with minor children, the elderly, those with medical condition/s, and the female wards of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Dubai (POLO-Dubai). Nearly all of them have been in some form of distress due to the sudden economic downturn in the country brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With regard to the repatriation of seafarers, the DFA said it facilitated the return of 2,984 sea-based OFs last week, including two medical repatriations from Seychelles and Brazil. The repatriated seafarers came from all over the world including Canada, USA, Japan, India, China, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands, and Greece.
Earlier last week, the DFA also brought home 250 stranded nationals in Papua New Guinea and Melbourne, Australia on board two special commercial repatriation flights.
The DFA also welcomed the arrival on Monday, August 24, of distressed nationals from Lebanon on board a DFA-chartered flight. This is the first in a series of chartered flights organized by the DFA to bring home Filipinos affected by the explosion at the Beirut Port early this month.