President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to repatriated overseas Filipino workers from Saudi Arabia | Photo Presidential Communications Operations Office/King Rodriguez
MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has repatriated 265,111 Filipinos affected by the pandemic since February 2020. Of the total, 83,866 are seafarers (31.63%), while 181,245 (68.37%) are land-based overseas Filipinos.
According to the DFA, two chartered flights were operated last week to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and to Dili, Timor Leste. The flights brought home a total of 374 fellow Filipinos. The 60 OFs from Dili had been stranded in Timor Leste for several months as commercial flights remain prohibited from entering the country. The 314 OFs from Riyadh meanwhile, are distressed overseas Filipinos who requested for repatriation assistance from the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.
Through the Philippine Embassy in Vientiane, the DFA also brought home 46 stranded OFs in Laos facilitated by a Myanmar National Airlines carrying repatriates from Myanmar which made a stopover in Vientiane before heading home to Manila.
Also, this week, the DFA provided special repatriation assistance to a kidnapped seafarer from Equatorial Guinea, a household service worker from Iraq, 102 distressed OFs from United Arab Emirates, 22 stranded Filipinos in Malaysia, undocumented OFWs from Colombia, Iraq and Syria, a nonagenarian from the USA and eight minor children from Israel and several others from the Bahamas and Singapore.
The DFA said that it remains fully committed to its Assistance-to-Nationals mandate and its daily repatriation efforts in this ongoing battle against COVID-19 pandemic.