Distressed workers from UAE back in PH

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    MORE than 100 distressed Filipinos from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates returned to the country yesterday, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced.

    Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Concerns Dodo Dulay said the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi were able to repatriate the 107 trafficked Filipino workers after the DFA settled their court cases, paid their immigration penalties and secured their exit visas.

    The batch was the latest group of Filipinos repatriated from the Middle East as the DFA has also been bringing home other overseas Filipino workers from Syria, Iraq and even Libya in North Africa.

    The DFA earlier deployed two rapid response teams to Iraq to help the embassy in the repatriation of Filipinos there following the raising of alert level 4 in the country in the wake of increasing tension generated by the US airstrike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Sulaimani.

    Though the tension has lessened, two Navy ships were still dispatched by the Philippine government to the region to bring home Filipinos working and living there.

    Last year, Philippine Ambassador to UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana said 1,081 undocumented Filipinos who sought shelter at the POLO-OWWA Center in Abu Dhabi were repatriated to Manila as part of the government’s repatriation program.

    The envoy said majority of the repatriates were enticed into going to the UAE by social media posts, particularly Facebook, made by unscrupulous individuals.

    In 2018, the DFA repatriated more than 2, 700 Filipinos who availed of the amnesty program offered by the UAE government for undocumented migrant workers.