30 distressed OFWs in Lebanon back in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   December 23, 2019   •   576

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 30 distressed Filipino workers from Lebanon arrived in Manila through the government’s repatriation program, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday.

The Filipinos arrived on Sundayvia Etihad Airways flight. Among them were five minors.

The DFA said they were allegedly victims of trafficking in persons as there is an existing deployment ban to Lebanon.

“This is the kind of commitment we give to our OFWs under this administration. Time and again, we are ready to serve whenever, wherever,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said.

Before leaving Beirut, the group of distressed Filipinos thanked President Rodrigo Duterte and DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. for their commitment to serve the interests of the overseas Filipino workers.

Upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the repatriates were welcomed by officials from the DFA and the Department of Justice.

The DFA said it has coordinated with the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) to help victims pursue the filing of cases against their illegal recruiters.

The department’s Migrants Workers’ Affairs unit shouldered the cost of the victims’ repatriation to Manila and/or their home provinces, as well as the immigration costs and penalties.

The repatriates also received financial assistance amounting to US $100.

OFWs for repatriation decide to stay after getting COVID-19 vaccine shot – Bello

Marje Pelayo   •   January 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III reported that some overseas Filipino workers (OFW) have taken back their decision to fly home to the Philippines after getting a shot of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine.

Most of them who preferred to stay are OFWs in the Middle East.

Bello said they believe they would have greater chances to get another job since they were already vaccinated. 

“Mayroong mga almost about 100,000 who applied for repatriation. Iyon ang nire-repatriate pa natin,” Bello noted.

“Nabigla kami bilang mayroon siguro around 60% of those who asked for repatriation suddenly changed their minds and said, “No, hindi na kami uuwi”. Tinanong natin kung bakit, iyon pala na-vaccinate na sila,” he added.

The Department of Labor and Employment has, so far, logged around 420,000 repatriated overseas Filipinos since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around 60,000 OFWs are on queue for repatriation this year and the agency still has a P5-B fund for this from President Rodrigo Duterte. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Remains of two Filipino fatalities in Abu Dhabi blast set for repatriation — DFA

Marje Pelayo   •   September 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday (September 10) reported that the remains of the two Filipinos who died in the gas leak explosion on August 31 in Abu Dhabi, UAE are now being prepared for repatriation to the Philippines.

The repatriation was set after all matters were cleared by authorities. 

Meanwhile, embassy officials and DFA regional representatives along with personnel from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) are now working closely with the families for the acceptance of the remains.

The DFA-DOLE composite team recently visited one of the families in their hometown, while Ambassador Hjayceelyn Quintana met with the widow and brother of the other deceased Filipino in Abu Dhabi, the DFA said.

The embassy arranged the viewing of the remains by family members, and is currently monitoring discussions between the families of the deceased and their employers. The families are also being assisted in the processing of the death benefits they will be receiving from the Philippine government.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Quintana spoke by phone to a Filipino survivor who was injured from the accident and now recovering well in the hospital.

The embassy expressed gratitude to the UAE government for ensuring that the affected Filipinos are cared for. 

The embassy also thanked members of the Filipino community whose prayers and expressions of support lent healing and comfort to the families of the victims.

DFA expedites repatriation of OFWs in Beirut, Lebanon

Marje Pelayo   •   August 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The national government is shelling out P15 million to fund the repatriation of overseas Filipinos in Lebanon following two massive explosions in Port of Beirut.

This was revealed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin in a post on Twitter. 

The said amount will fund a chartered flight with Qatar Airways to fly the Filipinos in Lebanon back home to the Philippines. 

Meanwhile, the Philippines Embassy in Beirut is processing the repatriation of the remains of all four Filipinos who died in the incident. 

Their remains are expected to arrive on August 16.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said about 400 overseas Filipinos from Lebanon are expected to board the chartered flight. 

Before the blasts, the agency has been doing repatriation of Filipinos from Lebanon whose jobs have been impacted by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

To date, there are a total 124, 717 Filipinos who returned home from Lebanon since February. 

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