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DFA: Over 277K OFWs repatriated

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has, so far, repatriated some 277,320 distressed overseas Filipinos since the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Since it began its Covid-related repatriation efforts in February 2020, at least 86,413 sea-based overseas Filipinos and 190,907 land-based Filipinos were able to return home through DFA’s assistance.

For November, the DFA on Wednesday said it brought home 34,312 from the Middle East, 3,310 from Asia and the Pacific, 2,316 from Europe, 10 from Africa, and nine from the Americas.

It also organized three chartered flights which flew home 460 distressed overseas Filipinos who have been stranded in China, Saudi Arabia, and Timor Leste for several months. These chartered flights were shouldered by the DFA through its augmented assistance to national funds.

November also saw the medical repatriation of 21 overseas Filipinos with serious illness from Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Cuba, Italy, Kuwait, Laos, Oman, and Pakistan.

“All throughout November, our DFA front-liners were at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and assisted in the safe return of our distressed kababayans,” the DFA said.

Nine Filipino seafarers were also finally brought home after their shipping vessel was abandoned by its owner at the Port of Djibouti.

The Department through the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs coordinated with its missions abroad to lobby hard with the Djibouti representatives in the International Maritime Organization in London, the United Nations in New York, and the Djibouti Embassy in Tokyo to allow the disembarkation of the Filipino crew of MV Arybbas on humanitarian grounds.

They arrived safely in Manila last Nov. 24 after being stranded onboard their vessel for more than fourteen months. “The DFA continues to deliver on its promise of bringing home our overseas Filipinos, regardless of the challenges we face,” Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said.*PNA

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