Gov’t repatriates nearly 320K OFWs amid health crisis

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MANILA – The government has sent home close to 320,000 returning overseas Filipino workers to their respective provinces, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Sunday.

In a report to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration said 319,333 OFWs were transported to their respective provinces as of Nov. 21 after they were cleared and tested negative of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

For November alone, a total of 38,516 OFWs were flown and bused to their destinations, the OWWA report said.

OWWA took care of their hotel accommodation and food while waiting for the result of their Covid-19 test taken upon arrival in Manila. The DOLE agency also facilitated their transport back to their provinces.

Bello said OWWA is relentless in looking after the needs of the returning OFWs.

“There is no stopping the government from extending the assistance to our dear OFWs. We have also enhanced our livelihood programs for the reintegration of our returning heroes,” he said.

He said DOLE’s foreign posts continue to monitor the condition of OFWs and provide assistance in their respective jurisdictions.

Citing separate reports by the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices on Sunday, Bello said a good number of OFWs who were afflicted by Covid-19 have already recovered from the disease.

“We are glad to note that we have a very good recovery rate among our Covid-stricken OFWs,” he said.

He said of the 111 infected Filipinos in Israel, 103 had already recovered while there was no fresh report of mortality among the 3,577 afflicted OFWs in Qatar.

Of the monitored Filipinos in Europe, 108 had recovered in Spain, eight in France, five in Portugal, and six in Andorra. There were 82 recoveries in Germany, while the rest are still recovering.

All seven confirmed cases among Filipinos in Belgium had recovered, while the two cases each in the Netherlands and Luxembourg had also recovered.

In Russia, meanwhile, the 29 confirmed cases among OFWs had all recovered.

“It is my ardent hope that no more OFWs get infected and become sick of Covid while they continue to sacrifice being away from their family,” Bello said. (PR)

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