More than 42K Pinoys have been repatriated

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    THE Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday said it was able to bring home more than 42,000 overseas Filipinos last month amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Of the 42,583 repatriates, the DFA said 32,389 came from the Middle East, 4,423 from the Asia Pacific, 4,109 from the Americas, 1,571 from Europe and 91 from Africa.

    The DFA said it mounted nine chartered flights in August that brought home distressed Filipinos from Malaysia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

    The DFA also brought home stranded overseas Filipino workers from Uzbekistan in late August.

    The country has no embassy or consulate in Uzbekistan and the repatriation flight was mounted with the assistance of the embassy in Iran.

    The DFA said 164,368 overseas Filipinos divided into 104,515 land-based workers and 58,853 sea-based workers have been brought home since it started repatriation last February.

    Meanwhile, more than 185,000 repatriated overseas Filipino workers have been reunited with their families after testing negative for COVID-19 and brought to their respective home provinces by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

    Data from the Department of Labor and Employment showed 185,750 repatriated OFWs have returned to their home regions as of September 5.

    President Duterte recently approved the release of an additional P5 billion budget to OWWA to finance the repatriation and assistance to returning OFWs. – With Gerard Naval