MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) facilitated this week the return of almost 10,000 overseas Filipino (OFs) repatriates.

In a press release on Saturday, the department said this brings the total number of repatriated OFs to 68,440 since the DFA began its coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) repatriation efforts in February.

Of this number, 51.23 percent (35,059 OFs) are sea-based and 48.77 percent (33,381 OFs) are land-based, with the most recent repatriates arriving from Barbados, the Maldives, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and the US on July 3.

Committed to bringing home more Filipinos from the Middle East, the DFA facilitated six flights from Saudi Arabia and seven flights from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which repatriated 1,630 and 2,208 fellow Filipinos, respectively.

The DFA also assisted in the safe return of 887 Filipinos from Kuwait and Oman.

Sea-based OFs from all over the world likewise continue to come home as the DFA welcomed repatriated seafarers from Panama, Costa Rica, Barbados, UK, Germany, Norway, Canada, and Singapore this week.

The department also mounted a chartered flight using its ATN Funds to bring home 183 stranded Filipinos, including three infants, and two cremated remains of overseas Filipino workers from Phuket, Thailand on June 29.

Finally, the Philippines opened the first “green lane” for seafarers in Asia through the signing of the Philippine Green Lane Joint Circular on July 2.

This will ensure that seafarers are accorded speedy and safe travel, subject to health protocols mandated by the Philippine government, including safe and swift disembarkation and crew change during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The DFA, together with its Philippine embassies and consulates around the world, remains fully committed to bringing home our nationals abroad amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (dfa/pna)