Repatriated OFWs due to COVID-19 outbreak exceeds 174k – DFA
Robie de Guzman • September 14, 2020 • 220
MANILA, Philippines – The number of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) repatriated due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has reached more than 174,000, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
In a statement on Sunday, the DFA said it brought home 9,671 OFWs last week, bringing the total to 174,039 since it began its repatriation efforts in February 2020.
Of the total number, 61,716 are sea-based workers while 112,323 are land-based, the agency added.
“The DFA remains relentless in facilitating more flights, particularly from the Middle East. This week, the DFA brought home more than 7,500 of our nationals from the said region via 27 special commercial repatriation flights,” it said.
The department said 11 of these flights were from the United Arab Emirates, seven from Saudi Arabia, four form Qatar, three from Bahrain, and one each from Kuwait and Oman.
“The return of Filipino seafarers also continues as the DFA facilitated the repatriation of more than 2,800 sea-based workers, including a Filipino fisherman who drifted to the waters of Central Sulawesi in April 2020,” it said.
The DFA added that it also extended assistance to “a cancer patient who finally arrived home in Manila on board a special commercial repatriation flight from Thailand last Wednesday.”
In a separate statement on Sunday, the department said the patient was among the 76 Filipinos brought home from Thailand on Wednesday.
“The DFA, together with its Philippine embassies, consulates and attached agencies around the world, remains fully committed to bringing home our nationals abroad amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is finalizing the repatriation of the remaining 11 Filipino seafarers stranded in Chinese waters onboard Ocean Star 86 since March 24.
The DFA and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) are already coordinating with the Philippine Embassy in China. OWWA said the seafarers will be able to return home by next week.
“Mayroon na po napipintong repatriation either this coming week or first week of October ng ating mga mahal na stranded seafarers sa China (Our stranded seafarers in China will be repatriated either this coming week or first week of October). We are now providing assistance to the seafarers,” according to OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac.
Based on the information received by OWWA, the Ocean Star 86 is docked in the mainland and the Philippine Embassy in China has been providing assistance to the seafarers. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)
MANILA, Philippines – A Filipina migrant worker who was charged with murder in Saudi Arabia has returned home following her release from prison, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
In a statement, the DFA said Rose Policarpio arrived in Manila on Tuesday after spending almost six years in jail for a crime she did not commit.
“Ms. Policarpio’s eventual acquittal is an example of the government’s commitment in protecting and promoting the rights of our OFWs. With her new lease on life, we wish her success in her future endeavors,” DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola said.
Policarpio, 31 years old, was deployed as a food server in Saudi Arabia in 2013. A few days after her arrival in Riyadh, she was imprisoned for murder after being accused of killing her employer.
She had consistently denied the crime and was eventually found not guilty by the lower court, the verdict of which was sustained by the court of appeals, leading to her eventual release from detention and repatriation.
The DFA said that through its Legal Assistance Fund (LAF), it provided for the services of her legal counsel. The Philippine Embassy also regularly visited her in jail and provided her with welfare assistance.
After securing her release, the DFA settled her incurred immigration penalties and secured her exit visa.
“This is a vindication of Ms. Policarpio and a clear declaration of her innocence. This is also a testament that the DFA and its people are willing to go the extra mile in order to protect and safeguard the rights of our kababayan wherever they are in the world,” Arriola said.
The DFA said Policarpio will be reunited with her family once COVID-19 health protocols are complied with.
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday advised Filipinos based in Mali to limit their movements and prepare for possible evacuation as it raised alert level 2 amid the political unrest in the country.
“Filipinos in Mali are advised to coordinate with the Philippine Embassy in Rabat, Morocco for further advisories and may contact them at +212-694202178 or via email at email@example.com,” the DFA said in a statement.
The department said it raised the Alert Level 2 in Mali last Sept. 18 due to the current political and security situation in the country.
“Alert Level 2 is issued when there are threats to the life, security, and property of Filipinos arising from internal disturbances, instability, and/or external threat,” the DFA said.
Under this alert level, Filipinos are instructed to restrict non-essential movements, avoid public places, and prepare for evacuation, it added.
Political unrest ensued in Mali after it installed a transition government following a coup that forced its president to resign.
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