MANILA — Government repatriation efforts for Filipinos abroad have reached close to half a million individuals amid the global health crisis the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) says.
Data from the country’s labor department show that as of last week, a total of 447,076 Filipino migrant workers abroad have returned to their respective home regions or provinces since May 2020 after most companies around the world have either decreased their business operations because of the lockdowns and quarantine restrictions or retrenched employees due to Covid-19 crisis.
It may be recalled that the Duterte administration began repatriating OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) affected by the pandemic in the middle of last year.
DOLE’s figures show that, so far, the highest number of repatriated Filipinos was recorded from 29 June until 26 July last year at 41,233; followed by May 15 to 31, 2020 with 33,924 and June 1 to 28, 2020 at 33,194.
The figures in months from 27 July to February 2021, however, did not exceed 18,000 repatriates.
For this year, on 20 February, only 883 were sent home to their provinces—the least number of OFWs that have been assisted back to their homes. Data covering 4 January to 20 February show the biggest number of OFWs that have reunited with their families for this year, as recorded from 25 to 31 January at 9,953, followed by 11 to 17 January with 9,376.
The returning workers were transported back to their home regions via air, sea, and land transportations provided by the Government to aid OFWs—deemed as the country’s new breed heroes for the millennium—started by Senator Christopher Go in the previous year under the so-called Balik Probinsya Program. (JSM/JuanManila)