The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through the Office of the Undersecretery for Migrant Workers’ Affairs announced that 367 distressed and undocumented OFWs from Lebanon, Syria and Bahrain arrived on September 13. This arrival increases the total of repatriated Filipinos since the start of the pandemic to 420,205.
The OFWs will soon be reunited with their families as a result of the DFA’s sweeper flight from Beirut and Manama. The flight also included five (5) human trafficking survivors from Syria.
The 5 survivors were illegally hired to work after posing and arriving at the country as tourists. Once they received abuses from their employers and suffered from poor working conditions, they decided to seek refuge at the Philippine Embassy.
“This latest sweeper flight is one of the many chartered flights that clearly shows the sincerity of the Philippine government in keeping its promise to the Filipino people,” stated DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola.
“While the DFA chartered operations will soon wind down, our commitment to bring home all distressed overseas Filipinos amidst the global coronavirus pandemic remains. Our people, both here at home and abroad, will continue to do their heroic work at the frontlines and leave no one needing repatriation behind,” added the Undersecretary.
The DFA will have another chartered flight from Dubai, UAE arriving this September 16. This will be the final DFA chartered flight on schedule.
As part of health and safety protocols, all passengers were tested and yielded negative result in the RT-PCR COVID-19 test at least fourty-eight (48) hours prior to their departure.
The repatriates will also undergo facility-based quarantine provided by the Philippine government, in conformity with the health protocols set by the Department of Health (DOH) – Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) and shall be subjected to further RT-PCR Testing for COVID-19.