The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has brought home a total of 223,294 overseas Filipinos (OFs) since the start of the pandemic as part of its commitment to continue its coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19)-related repatriation efforts.
This week, the DFA said an additional 9,352 OFs were repatriated by the agency. Of the total number of OFs repatriated, 73,870 (33.08 percent) are sea-based, while 149,424 (66.92 percent) are land-based.
The DFA facilitated this week the safe return of 8,444 OFs from the Middle East, 512 from Asia and the Pacific, 394 from Europe, and 2 from the Americas via 38 special commercial repatriation flights. The DFA likewise chartered two flights from Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia which flew home 603 OFs, including five OFWs with chronic medical conditions.
Part of the 8,444 OFs who came home from the Middle East were 260 Agrostudies students from Israel, an undocumented OFW and her minor child from Iran, and two possible victims of trafficking-in-persons from Syria. The DFA, through the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli, also successfully repatriated 92 OFWs from Benghazi, Libya. This marked the DFA’s first repatriation from Benghazi since 2017.
Finally, the DFA, through the Philippine Consulate General in Manado, the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta and the Consular Office in General Santos City and in partnership with the Philippine Coast Guard, also brought home 40 Filipino fishermen from North Sulawesi, Indonesia to General Santos City on board the BRP Tubbataha. This is the DFA’s first repatriation effort by sea from Indonesia since the start of the pandemic.
The DFA reassures our fellow Filipinos, especially those who remain stranded overseas, whether on land or on sea, of its continuous efforts to safely bring them home. (sovereignph.com)