Migrant workers forced back home by pandemic near 200,000

Migrant workers forced back home by pandemic near 200,000
In this Sept. 26, 2020, photo, the Department of Foreign Affairs welcomes home a total of 317 Filipinos from Lebanon who joined the turnaround DFA-chartered PAL flight PR8681 which landed at NAIA-Terminal 2 at 10:38 AM. 
Released / DFA

MANILA, Philippines — Nearly 200,000 Filipino migrant workers had been sent back home after getting displaced from their jobs by the lingering coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday.

The latest addition were 9,574 overseas Filipino workers repatriated recently. This brought the total number of OFWs that returned home due to the health crisis to 195,224, the agency said. With 2.2 million OFWs recorded as of 2018, the latest year on which data is available, it means 8.9% of migrant workers abroad had been flown back to Manila.

Of the total number of repatriated OFWs so far, 34.6% or 67,484 were sea-based workers, while 65.4% or 127,740 were land-based employees. 

"This week, two DFA-chartered flights from Saudi Arabia brought home 711 overseas Filipinos. Among them was OFW Rose Policarpio whose acquittal from murder charges was secured through the DFA’s steadfast assistance," the agency said. 

DFA: OFW acquitted of murder in Saudi Arabia returns home

Of those repatriated this week, the foreign affairs department logged 317, including 12 children, who flew in from Lebanon on Saturday. "They joined the DFA-chartered Philippine Airlines flight which also brought 5,000 boxes of relief goods for the Filipino community in Lebanon and medical supplies for Lebanese beneficiaries," the department's statement read.

Early August, twin explosions rocked Lebanon's capital Beirut, leaving nearly 200 dead, including four FIlipinos, and thousands injured. 

"The DFA remains fully committed to its Assistance-to-Nationals mandate and its daily repatriation efforts in this ongoing battle against COVID-19 pandemic," the agency said. — Bella Perez-Rubio

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