DFA: 41,892 displaced OFWs repatriated in September; most from Middle East

(Philstar.com) – October 5, 2020 – 9:59am

MANILA, Philippines — An additional 41,892 Filipino migrant workers who were displaced by the COVID-19 crisis returned home in September, bringing the total number of those repatriated due to the pandemic to over 200,000, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Sunday. 

“As of today, the DFA has brought home a total of 204,481 [overseas Filipinos] from all over the world. A total of 69,477 (33.98%) of these OFs are sea-based while 135,004 (66.02%) are land-based,” the agency said in a press release. 

According to the agency, “an overwhelming majority” at 74.5% or 31,217 of returning migrant workers in September came from the Middle East. 

The rest of the regional breakdown for the previous month’s repatriates is as follows: 

  • 4,226 or 10.1% from Asia and the Pacific
  • 3,666 or 8.8% from the Americas
  • 2,634 or 6.3% from Europe
  • 149 or 0.3% from Africa 

“September also saw the goodwill mission of the DFA in Lebanon. Together with the Office of Presidential Protocol, led by Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Chief of Presidential Protocol Robert E.A. Borje, the Philippine delegation brought 5,000 boxes of relief goods for the Filipino community in Beirut,” the department said. 

“The team also brought medical supplies which were donated to two Lebanese hospitals and two nongovernment organizations which have been taking care of OFs in Lebanon. The return flight brought home 317 OFWs, most of whom were household service workers affected by the economic crisis and the recent blast at the Port of Beirut,” it added. 

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

The DFA also reported that it successfully brought home 16 seafarers who were stranded in China for over six months due to the country’s “no disembarkation policy” — a precautionary measure implemented due to the pandemic and the unavailability of commercial flights.

“Finally, several DFA-chartered flights brought home more than a thousand of our distressed OFs from Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, Saudi Arabia this September. All these chartered flights were shouldered by the DFA’s Assistance-to-Nationals Fund,” the department said. 

DFA added that its repatriation efforts would continue in the last quarter of the year.  — Bella Perez-Rubio