THE good news is that concerned government offices and agencies have repatriated more than 100,000 distressed land and sea-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe, the repatriated migrant workers, many of them from the Middle East, have already been transported to their provinces.
“Repatriating more than 100,000 overseas Filipinos is a first in the history of the Department of Foreign Affairs,” said DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Sarah Lou Y. Arriola.
Triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the repatriation, which started as early as last February, “may look easy, but in reality it was difficult,” according to the lady undersecretary.
She attributed the success of the gigantic undertaking to the sustained efforts of DFA’s dedicated personnel, who labored 24/7, and the full cooperation of all our foreign service posts.
“Pandemic or not, the men and women of the DFA, including those (manning) our embassies and consulates around the world, remain fully committed to bringing home our distressed nationals,” said Arriola.
Of the 102,519 repatriates, 42.8 percent (43,893) and 57 percent (58,626) were seafarers and land-based workers, respectively.
The most recent repatriates came from the Netherlands, New Zealand, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States of America (USA).
Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III said the government will exhaust all means to help the thousands of repatriated OFWs to look for new jobs in the country.
Certainly, the government, through concerned offices and agencies, is duty-bound to meet the mushrooming employment needs of the burgeoning Philippine population.