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Philippines welcomes 234 repatriated OFWs
Among those who arrived aboard the government-chartered Philippine Airlines flight were three abandoned minors, several detainees who had been imprisoned in Dubai and wards and their minor children from the shelters of the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi and consulate general in Dubai.
BusinessWorld/File

Philippines welcomes 234 repatriated OFWs

Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 234 Filipinos in the Middle East were brought back to the country on New Year’s Day through a government repatriation mission from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Among those who arrived aboard the government-chartered Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight were three abandoned minors, several detainees who had been imprisoned in Dubai and wards and their minor children from the shelters of the Philippine embassy in Abu Dhabi and consulate general in Dubai.

It was the 60th chartered flight arranged by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), as part of the administration’s “Kalinga at Malasakit for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs),” since the pandemic broke out.

So far, more than 320,000 Filipinos overseas have been repatriated.

Special Envoy of the President to the Kingdom of Bahrain and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert E.A. Borje led the latest repatriation effort.

“The return of the OFWs represents a new life and new opportunity despite the challenges of the past year,” said Borje, who also echoed President Duterte’s assurance of the government’s commitment to serve and ensure the well-being of repatriates.

The repatriation mission capped the four-day official visit to Manama by the Philippine team led by Borje and which included Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola and Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary for Global Media and Public Affairs JV Arcena.

The audience granted by the Crown Prince and Prime Minister His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa highlighted the trip.

Members of the mission also paid a courtesy call on Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Ali bin Khalifah Al Khalifa and held meetings with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani and other officials.

Borje cited the significance of efforts to strengthen diplomatic ties and boost understanding with top Bahraini officials.

It opened up the opportunity to discuss with the Ministry of the Interior migrant workers’ rights and efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ways to expand the two countries’ cooperation in other areas of mutual interest, including trade and investment, were also discussed.

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