A total of 348 stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were repatriated over the weekend, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) bared on Sunday, July 11.
DOLE said this was the fourth batch of repatriation since the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) declared travel restrictions from seven countries.
The repatriation was undertaken in coordination with the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai, in efforts to bring home close to 2,000 OFWs and their families from the emirates. The first three batches of repatriation were undertaken by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
In a report to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Dubai said that the OFW repatriates left UAE on Saturday, July 10, and arrived Manila on Sunday morning via flight PR 8659 of the Philippine Airlines (PAL).
Bello said the repatriates include 67 pregnant OFWs, 30 OFWs with medical cases, six OFW wards housed at the Bahay Kalinga in Dubai, and two OFW wards housed at the Bahay Kalinga in Abu Dhabi.
The rest of the OFW passengers were those with cancelled flights or overstayers in UAE. The cost of the chartered flight was shouldered by OWWA, Bello said.
The repatriated Filipinos will undergo quarantine and will be transported to their respective hometowns after they were cleared and tested negative of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
OWWA will take care of their seven-day hotel accommodation and food while waiting for the result of their COVID test. The DOLE attached agency will also facilitate their transport back to their provinces.
The IATF has allowed the conduct of special commercial flights to bring home OFWs who have been stranded in the Middle East and other countries covered by the country’s inbound travel ban.
Four more DOLE-OWWA repatriation flights are set on July 12, 17, 27 and 30, DOLE said.