Repatriates OFWs hit 800k mark — Bello

November 28, 2021 People's Tonight 209 views

THE number of overseas Filipino workers who have returned home and rejoined their families since the onset of the Covid pandemic has breached the 800,000 mark, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III reported on Sunday.

Based on records of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Bello said a total of 809,374 OFWs were transported back to their home regions as of November 28 after undergoing quarantine protocols and provided assistance by the government.

Those who have returned consisted mostly of pandemic-affected workers and displaced OFWs due to lockdowns that crippled world economies. The pandemic sent over 125 million workers unemployed worldwide, according to the International Labour Organization.

“Many of our OFWs became helpless when the pandemic struck and so the government launched a massive repatriation drive never done before,” Bello said.

Under the program, OFWs were brought back into the country via chartered flights at the expense of the government. Upon their arrival, they were accommodated in hotels for quarantine and Covid-19 testing.

“Once cleared, our OFWs were transported home to their respective provinces,” Bello said.

Of the period covered, the Labor chief said the November 15 to December 12 of 2020 interval recorded the highest number of OFWs who were sent home to regions. They totaled 56,925 migrant workers.

“This year, the highest was for the period October 17 to November 13 with 45,703 OFWs returning to their own families,” he said. Bello said the lowest was on November 25 this year with 1,622 migrant workers.

Bello said repatriating beleaguered OFWs is a continuing program of the government.

“As long as we have migrant workers who want to go home but can’t do so because of difficulties due to the pandemic, we will continue the repatriation program,” he said.