MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Sunday (October 18) that it has brought home a total of 223,294 overseas Filipinos (OFs) since the start of the pandemic.
The DFA said the number shows how they are fully committed to their COVID-19-related repatriation efforts.
In a statement posted on its website, the department said that, in the past week alone, it has repatriated an additional 9,352 OFs.
The DFA added that of the total number of OFs repatriated, 73,870 (33.08%) are sea-based, while 149,424 (66.92%) 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,” the statement said.
It added that 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,” the statement further said.
The department also announced that 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, they have brought home 40 Filipino fishermen from North Sulawesi, Indonesia to General Santos City on board the BRP Tubbataha.
The statement said that this is the agency’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,” the statement concluded.