MANILA — The Philippines is currently receiving repatriation requests from overseas Filipino workers in Italy amid the rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the European state.
Philippine Ambassador Domingo Nolasco on Tuesday said the embassy is currently evaluating the requests.
“May mga nag-request na so ini-evaluate namin iyon ng isa-isa kung talagang legitimate ba ang pag-uwi nila kasi ‘yong iba gusto pa nilang bumalik… gusto munang magpalipas ng panahon dito kasi natatakot sila (There are requests already so we are evaluating it individually whether the request to go home is legitimate because some still want to come back),” he said in a Laging Handa briefing.
The envoy has not indicated the timeline as well as the number of those who requested, but assured the Philippines is ready to assist OFWs.
With Italy under lockdown, Nolasco said the biggest concern for most Filipinos there is employment.
“Ang pinakamalaking concern nila ngayon, karamihan sa kanila ay nawalan ng trabaho o nabawasan ng oras ang trabaho, so ang mga request po sa amin ay for financial assistance. ‘Yung iba naman gusto nang umuwi muna, ini-evaluate namin ‘yong mga requests (Their biggest concern is employment because some have lost their job, so the request are mostly financial assistance, the others were repatriation, we are evaluating the requests,” he said.
On Sunday, the government repatriated a total of 370 Filipino crew members from three cruise ships docked in Italy.
This follows the series of repatriation of distressed Filipinos affected by the Covid-19 pandemic from China, Japan, Macao and US.
In the entire Europe, including Italy, there at least 97 Filipinos infected with Covid-19. Citing the privacy laws of Italy, Nolasco deferred from providing specific figures.
According to the latest data from the World Health Organization, there are a total of 693,224 Covid-19 cases globally. Of this number, at least 97,689 were recorded in Italy. (PNA)