More than 200K OFWs repatriated: DFA

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    MORE than 200,000 overseas Filipino workers have been repatriated to the country since the government started its repatriation program last February due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs said 204,481 overseas Filipinos have been brought back to the country as of October 4, with 69, 477 of them sea-based workers and 135, 004 land-based workers.

    The DFA said that for September alone, it was able to repatriate 41,892 OFWs, majority of whom came from the Middle East where more than 1.2 million live and work.

    Of these, 31,217 came from the Middle East, 4, 226 from Asia and the Pacific, 3,666 from the Americas, 2,634 from Europe, and 149 from Africa.

    The DFA said it will continue to bring home overseas Filipinos wherever they may be.

    “Repatriation operations are ongoing and overseas Filipinos who wish to be repatriated must contact the nearest Philippine embassy or consulate general in their area,” the DFA said.

    The DFA also said South Africa has lifted its inbound travel restrictions, including on Filipino travelers, subject to medical protocols. South Africa is the latest country to lift some travel restrictions.

    The DFA earlier said 40 countries have relaxed their inbound travel restrictions to Filipinos amid the pandemic.

    Some 140 countries also allowed Filipinos to return to Manila subject to flight availability and other special arrangements.

    The DFA also said that Alert Level 4-mandatory repatriation and the POEA deployment ban on Iraq remain in place.