The government has so far brought back home 174,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who lost their jobs abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic, National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 chairperson and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana bared.
Lorenzana said the repatriation process has already "stabilized" since it was first implemented in April 2020.
"Ang ating repatriation ng OFWs, tuloy-tuloy pa rin. Na-stabilize na po natin (The repatriation of our OFWs is on-going. We already stabilized it)," he said in a meeting presided by President Duterte Monday night.
Lorenzana said an average of 1,500 OFWs are being sent home daily. The number of arriving OFWs is being limited to avoid overcrowding in isolation facilities in Metro Manila where they are subjected to a 14-day quarantine.
Meanwhile, Lorenzana said the third batch of Filipinos who died in the Middle East has already arrived during the weekend.
The remains of 72 OFWs from Saudi Arabia were flown to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City via a chartered flight last Friday. Sixty-two persons died due to COVID-19 complications while the remaining 10 perished because of other causes.
Lorenzana also said that the third batch of overseas Filipinos in Sabah arrived last Saturday.
A total of 379 Filipinos were ferried from Sabah to Zamboanga City where they will undergo the mandatory quarantine protocols before being allowed to go back to their home provinces.
Most of those who arrived are from Tawi-Tawi, Jolo, Basilan and Zamboanga City.
"Na-testing na po sila doon sa Sabah bago umalis. COVID-free po sila lahat (They were tested in Sabah before they left. They are all COVID-free)," Lorenzana said.