DFA Repatriates Over 82K Filipinos Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

DFA Repatriates Over 82K Filipinos Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported on Tuesday that a total of 82,057 overseas Filipinos had been repatriated to the Philippines amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

During a hearing of the House committee on public accounts regarding the issues surrounding the repatriation of stranded OFWs, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola said of this number, 38,308 are sea-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) while 43,749 are land-based OFWs as of July 13.

Arriola noted a significant increase in repatriations since the last House hearing on June 26, with a total of 25,777 Filipino repatriates.

“We’re just very happy to inform Congress that from the last hearing, we already had an increase of 25,777 and we’d like to thank the chair (Rep. Michael Defensor) and members of Congress who are asking CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) and IATF (Inter-agency Task Force) to increase the number of people who can enter the Philippines,” she said.

Arriola also reported that 8,869 Filipinos overseas have been infected by Covid-19 as of July 13. From this, 5,276 have recovered, 618 have died, and 2,975 remain to be active cases.

She said most of the cases are in the Middle East and Africa at 6,429 cases, followed by Europe at 1,053 cases, Americas at 699 cases, and Asia and the Pacific at 688 cases.

Arriola said the biggest challenge remains to be the depleting PHP1-billion Assistance-to-Nationals Fund that the DFA is tapping for the repatriation program with only PHP232,948,881 left.

She earlier warned it may be depleted by August.

She said the DFA is eyeing to repatriate another 50,577 OFWs stranded in various countries by the end of July. (PNA)

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