DFA assures OFWs of aid as it adjusts repatriation efforts


Posted at May 03 2020 02:58 PM

MANILA - The Department of Foreign Affairs said Sunday it was adjusting its repatriation efforts of Filipino workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, following the government's week-long suspension of inbound commercial flights in the country.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Eduardo Meñez said Filipino migrant workers would "remain where they are in the meantime" and assured them of assistance.

“For those who may already be at airports, they will be assisted as best possible under the circumstances,” Meñez told reporters when asked what will happen to OFWs who lost their jobs.

“I understand that some arrivals (especially those already en route) may still come in, but after those - none are expected in the meantime, save for the exceptions."

The National Task Force on COVID-19 cited the need to suspend inbound flights in the country's 9 international airports, including in the capital Manila, to "ramp up the capacity of our systems to properly process the growing number of Filipino repatriates coming back to the Philippines on a daily basis."

As of Saturday, 24,422 Filipino workers have already been repatriated. Of this number, 16,936 were sea-based and 7,486 were land-based.

The Philippines has so far recorded 8,928 cases of COVID-19, with 1,124 recoveries and 603 deaths.

Some 1,741 Filipinos abroad, meanwhile, have tested positive for the virus, of whom 207 have died, the DFA earlier said.

--Report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News