MANILA - Over 300,000 overseas Filipino workers have so far been repatriated this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday.
The DFA said it brought home 13,537 repatriates this week, which was its highest weekly total since the agency started its COVID-19 repatriations in February.
As of Sunday, the DFA said 300,838 overseas Filipinos from all over the world have returned to the country as the pandemic disrupted the economies of the countries they had been working in.
“This is the biggest repatriation effort in the history of the DFA and of the Philippines,” said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola.
Among the 59 flights facilitated by the Department this week was a Philippine Airlines flight which brought home 319 distressed overseas Filipinos from Dammam, Saudi Arabia, the DFA said.
Cash remittances from overseas Filipinos declined 1.4 percent from Jan. to Sept this year compared to the same period in 2019 as the pandemic caused hundreds of thousands of OFWs to lose their jobs.
Remittances however have defied the bleaker projections from the Labor Department of 30 percent to 40 percent declines.