Over 200,000 Filipinos repatriated since start of pandemic: Lorenzana

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2020 11:26 PM

OFWs wait to board their buses going to their respective provinces at the PITX in Parañaque, May 29, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - More than 200,000 Filipino migrant workers have been repatriated since the coronavirus pandemic started and more are expected to come home to the Philippines, Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana said Monday.

Lorenzana said in a public briefing that 200,223 OFWS have returned to their hometowns, while they are still expecting around 80,000 more to be repatriated, citing Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III's report.

He said that the remains of Saudi Arabia OFWs that have been sent home have reached 261. According to Lorenzana, 164 of the total were confirmed COVID-19 cases, while the rest died due to other reasons.

The Middle Eastern country in July asked Philippine officials to bring home the remains of 282 Filipinos there, including 50 who succumbed to the coronavirus.

Lorenzana said that 1,570 Filipinos have returned from Sabah, and 400 more are expected to come home on Wednesday.

"Ang natitira pa po doon sa Sabah ay 3,300," he said, clarifying that the 1,570 were repatriated, not deported.

Filipino migrant workers have been returning to the Philippines since March when coronavirus cases worldwide rapidly rose, forcing establishments and businesses to temporarily close in nearly all countries, leading to loss of jobs and income.