Over 19K OFWs repatriated from Middle East under Duterte —DOLE
A total of 19,201 stranded and undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East have been sent back to the Philippines since President Rodrigo Duterte took office, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Thursday.
“The repatriation is being undertaken under the Relief Assistance Program (RAP) of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), at a cost of close to P500 million from July 2016 to March this year,” DOLE said in a statement.
The repatriated OFWS, mostly from Riyadh, Jeddah, and Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia were provided with monetary and livelihood assistance upon their return. DOLE also offered livelihood packages to them.
“Through our repatriation program, we manifest the government’s response to ensure the welfare and safety of our modern heroes and bring them back home to their families,” Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said.
The latest to be sent home were 139 Filipinos who were granted exit visas under Saudi Arabia’s “Nation without Violations” amnesty program. President Rodrigo Duterte, together with Bello and other cabinet members, welcomed them last Monday.
Bello accompanied Duterte in a three-nation swing in the Middle East last week to bring home stranded OFWs and undocumented Filipinos.
The labor secretary earlier formed a repatriation team headed by undersecretary Dominador Say to extend airport assistance to the repatriates including travel document processing, use of a special immigration lane, and baggage assistance. JE
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