Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Monday said the government is arranging more chartered flights for some 6,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) stranded in eight countries with travel restrictions due to the presence of the more infectious Covid-19 Delta variant.
He said the DOLE is coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for the immediate repatriation of Filipinos from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UEA), and Indonesia.
“Repatriation is still going on. We can’t stop. We need to take them home. Even with a lockdown, we make way for them to get home. We are arranging charter flights so we can take them home,” he said in a virtual forum.
Bello said most of the nearly 6,000 stranded OFWs are in UAE and Oman.
“The shelters are filling up. While they are there, they can’t go home, they can’t be left behind. We provide shelter, food, medicine. There are still funds, we charter the flights,” he said.
He assured that the repatriated Filipino workers will be subjected to strict health protocols being implemented in the country for arriving OFWs.“The same strict protocols. If they are fully vaccinated, after 5 days in quarantine they will undergo reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. If their tests are negative, they will be allowed to go to home,” he said.