DFA says more than 10,000 migrant Filipinos returned home last week
In this Sept. 29, 2020, photo, the officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs welcome home 16 stranded Filipino seafarers and three land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from China.

DFA says more than 10,000 migrant Filipinos returned home last week

(Philstar.com) - November 24, 2020 - 5:37pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs said it repatriated another 10,326 Filipinos last week.

"This brings the total number of repatriated Filipinos to 265,111 since February 2020," a press release from the department reads.

Of these, the agency added, 83,866 — or 31.63% — are seafarers while 181,245 — or 68.37% — are land-based migrants.

"The DFA mounted two chartered flights this week - one to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and another to Dili, Timor Leste. The two flights brought home a total of 374 fellow Filipinos," the department said.

Of these, 60 were Filipinos previously stranded in Timor Leste for several months due to the prohibition on commercial flights from entering the country. Meanwhile, another 314 Filipinos were "distressed" and requested for repatriation assistance from the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.

The DFA added that its embassy in Vientiane brought home more than 40 Filipinos previously stranded in Laos.

"A Myanmar National Airlines flight carrying repatriates from Myanmar, made a stop in Vientiane, Laos to pick up the 46 stranded Filipinos before finally heading home to Manila. Because of this arrangement, three [overseas Filipinos] from Laos who had serious medical conditions, were able to join the repatriation flight."

The agency said it brought home the following Filipinos across the globe:

  • a kidnapped seafarer from Equatoreal Guinea
  • a household service worker from Iraq
  • 102 distressed OFs from the United Arab Emirates
  • 22 stranded Filipinos in Malaysia
  • undocumented OFWs from Colombia, Iraq and Syria
  • a nonagenarian (someone between age 90 to 99) from the USA
  • eight minor children from Israel

It also facilitated the following medical repatriations:

  • migrant worker with myoma from the Bahamas
  • an OFW who encountered a cycling accident in Singapore
  • a migrant worker suffering from intermittent bleeding from Laos

Data from the labor department shows that a total 319,333 overseas Filipino workers have returned home since the pandemic, some 54,000 more than DFA figures. The foreign affairs department has previously clarified that the agencies have differing figures as not all repatriations are coursed through them.

DFA expects to bring home some 80,000 more migrant Filipinos before year end. 

— Bella Perez-Rubio

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