Responding to urgent calls from Filipinos in distress, the Department of Foreign Affairs, through the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, brought home last Monday morning 347 Filipinos from Dammam and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Among the repatriates were 16 pregnant women, nine minors, including five babies, one male stretcher case, and one recovering stroke victim.
Many of the repatriates were severely affected by the closure of businesses in Saudi Arabia brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, spirits were high as the repatriates arrived this morning on a Philippine Airlines flight which was chartered by the DFA using the Assistance-to-Nationals Fund. “Maraming-maraming salamat po sa Embassy ng Riyadh dahil nakauwi po kami ng mga anak ko at maraming-maraming salamat din po sa Presidente natin (Thank you very much to the Embassy in Riyadh for bringing us home with my children and also thank you so much to our President)”, exclaimed one of the repatriates.
Upon arrival, the Philippine Coast Guard administered RT-PCR testing for COVID-19 on the repatriates. They were also briefed on quarantine protocols before being transported to designated facilities where they will undergo mandatory quarantine as they await the results of the RT-PCR test.
This was one of four DFA-chartered flights scheduled to arrive this week. The other chartered flights will be coming from Yangon, Myanmar; Doha Qatar; and Dili, East Timor. To date, the DFA has successfully facilitated the repatriation of 27,843 overseas Filipinos from all over the world.