MANILA – A total of 742 Filipinos from the United States and Kuwait have returned to the Philippines amid the current coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis worldwide, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported Thursday.
“The arrival of 742 Filipinos from the United States and Kuwait today is a testament to President Rodrigo Duterte’s commitment to protect and promote the welfare and well-being of overseas Filipino workers. Whether on land or at sea, the DFA assures you that the government is working tirelessly to reach everyone — leaving no one behind,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said in a statement.
Of the 742 repatriates, some 439 were seafarers of Norwegian Joy and Regent Splendor from California, US.
The local manning agency CF Sharp, in coordination with the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C., repatriated the seafarers via a chartered flight that arrived Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, the remaining 303 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Kuwait arrived midday, the latest batch of those who have benefited from Kuwait government’s ongoing amnesty program.
According to the DFA, both groups have undergone the Bureau of Quarantine’s strict medical screening and health briefing and will observe the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Arriola said the DFA together with its 90 foreign service posts across the globe remain ready to provide assistance to all distressed Filipinos abroad.
“Filipinos who require emergency assistance should immediately contact the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate or send a message through DFA-OUMWA’s OFW Help Facebook page,” she said.
To date, a total of 9,628 Filipinos have returned to the Philippines amid the Covid-19 pandemic, of which some 6,680 are seafarers while 2,948 are land-based OFWs. (PNA)