The government has repatriated 348 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the fourth batch of repatriation since travel restrictions were declared last month in seven countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The repatriates left UAE on Saturday and arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sunday morning via Philippine Airlines, according to a report to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Dubai.
OWWA shouldered the cost of the chartered flight while the repatriation was processed in coordination with the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai, a news release on Sunday stated.
Some 2,000 OFWs and their families from the emirates are eyed for repatriation.
The first three batches were led by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Four more DOLE-OWWA repatriation flights are set on July 12, 17, 27 and 30.
The repatriates included 67 pregnant OFWs, 30 with medical cases, six housed at the Bahay Kalinga in Dubai, and two from the Bahay Kalinga in Abu Dhabi.
The rest of the OFWs were those whose flights were canceled or who overstayed.
One of the passengers was a household service worker who sought shelter at the POLO Dubai after chancing upon an OWWA personnel at the airport.
Her employer bought her ticket and left her at the Dubai airport on July 5. She failed to board her flight, which consisted of several layovers and connecting flights.
“Thank you very much. Now I can be with my family again,” she said in Filipino, as quoted by DOLE officials.The repatriated OFWs will undergo quarantine and will be transported to their hometowns once they test negative for Covid-19.