DFA sends home more than 300,000 overseas Filipinos in 2020
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has repatriated a total of 327,511 overseas Filipinos last year.
According to a statement on Monday, DFA reported that 231,537 or 70.7% of the total repatriates were land-based coming from around 90 countries. Meanwhile, 95,974 or 29.3% are seafarers from about 150 cruise ships, oil tankers, and other bulk vessels.
Based on the department’s breakdown, the most number of repatriates came from the Middle East with at least 228,893 or 69.89% overseas Filipinos. It is followed by the number of repatriates from Asia and the Pacific with 36,868 or 11.26%.
DFA also brought home 30,971 or 9.46% overseas Filipinos from the Americas, 28,909 or 8.83% from Europe, and 1,870 or 0.57% from Africa.
The foreign department also noted that the highest monthly total of repatriated overseas Filipinos was recorded in December at 51,770 amid cancellation of flights due to the new COVID-19 variant.
“Sweeper flights were also organized to bring home distressed overseas Filipinos from Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and UAE, in time for the holiday season,” DFA said.
The COVID-19-related repatriations kicked off in February when members of the DFA flew to Wuhan, China, the initial epicenter of the virus, to bring home Filipinos who were stranded in the area during the pandemic.
“While these are some of the highlights of the DFA’s repatriation efforts for this year, let us not forget the tireless dedication of our DFA frontliners who facilitated the return and provided airport assistance to hundreds of medical repatriates, victims of trafficking-in-persons, unaccompanied minor children, and senior citizens who were repatriated by the DFA this 2020,” said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola.
“As we start a new year, the DFA remains committed to its assistance-to-nationals mandate and renews its promise to bring home every Filipino who wishes to come home,” Arriola added.
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