HOME. A group of overseas Filipino workers from the United Arab Emirates lands at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in this June 2021 photo. Three chartered flights have been processed by the Department of Foreign Affairs while the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration led the repatriation of 348 Filipinos who arrived Sunday (July 11) morning. (Photo courtesy of OFW Help Facebook)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – The government has repatriated 348 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the fourth batch of repatriation since travel restrictions were declared last month in seven countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The repatriates left UAE on Saturday and arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sunday morning via Philippine Airlines, according to a report to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Dubai.
OWWA shouldered the cost of the chartered flight while the repatriation was processed in coordination with the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai, a news release on Sunday stated.
Some 2,000 OFWs and their families from the emirates are eyed for repatriation.
The first three batches were led by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Four more DOLE-OWWA repatriation flights are set on July 12, 17, 27 and 30.
The repatriates included 67 pregnant OFWs, 30 with medical cases, six housed at the Bahay Kalinga in Dubai, and two from the Bahay Kalinga in Abu Dhabi.
The rest of the OFWs were those whose flights were canceled or who overstayed.
One of the passengers was a household service worker who sought shelter at the POLO Dubai after chancing upon an OWWA personnel at the airport.
Her employer bought her ticket and left her at the Dubai airport on July 5. She failed to board her flight, which consisted of several layovers and connecting flights.
“Maraming salamat po at makakauwi na rin ako sa aking pamilya (Thank you very much. Now I can be with my family again),” she said, as quoted by DOLE officials.
The repatriated OFWs will undergo quarantine and will be transported to their hometowns once they test negative for Covid-19.
OWWA will also spend for hotel accommodation and food while the OFWs await their test results.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has allowed the conduct of special commercial flights to bring home OFWs who were stranded in the Middle East and other countries covered by the inbound travel ban.
A Special Working Group was created to determine the implementing protocols for the special commercial flights, in coordination with airlines.
Among the members of the Special Working Group are OWWA, Department of Health, Bureau of Quarantine, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Transportation and its One-Stop-Shop, Philippine Coast Guard, and Department of Tourism.
The travel restrictions on travelers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman, and the UAE, issued early June, have been extended until July 15 due to the threat posed by the Delta coronavirus variant. (PR)