68,440 overseas Filipinos repatriated since February
According to the DFA, 35,059 of the repatriated overseas Filipinos were sea-based, while 33,381 were land-based.
Miguel de Guzman, file
68,440 overseas Filipinos repatriated since February
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - July 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — At least 10,000 overseas Filipinos were repatriated last week, bringing the total to 68,440 since the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) began repatriation efforts in February.

According to the DFA, 35,059 of the repatriated overseas Filipinos were sea-based, while 33,381 were land-based.

The most recent arrivals came from Barbados, Maldives, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the United States on Friday.

Over 4,000 Filipinos also arrived from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman.

As of Friday, there are 8,627 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases involving overseas Filipinos in 62 countries and territories. There were 561 deaths and 5,163 recoveries.

Last July 2, the Philippines opened the first “green lane” for seafarers in Asia that would ensure that seafarers and personnel are accorded speedy and safe travel, subject to health protocols mandated by the Philippine government.

The DFA said the green lane would allow safe and swift disembarkation and crew change during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need to address the situation of the world’s seafarers without whom there would be no shipping and who ensure the maintenance of global supply chains,” said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

“With these guidelines, we are answering the call of the International Maritime Organization and the maritime industries to put in place a framework for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

Documentary requirements in Saudi Arabia have delayed the return of the bodies of over 300 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who died from COVID-19 and various other causes.

“We regret to announce that the repatriation of the remains of our dear OFWs from Saudi Arabia is being delayed due to the pending release of documentary requirements,” said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III in a statement released late Friday night.

He noted the other cause of delay is “our common desire to strictly adhere to the health protocols in transporting” the migrant workers. Sheila Crisostomo

DFA OFW
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