More than 200,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) have been sent home by the government as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in industries around the globe, National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 chairperson Delfin Lorenzana bared Monday night.
In a public address by President Duterte, Lorenzana said a total of 200,431 OFWs were already escorted back to the country from March to September 13.
Citing data from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Lorenzana added that around 80,000 more OFWs are expected to come home within the year.
Meanwhile, for Overseas Filipinos (OFs) in Sabah, Lorenzana said the fifth batch of reptriates will arrive next Monday, September 21.
“Four hundred po ito. Kapag dumating po iyon ay mayroon ng 2,000 na dumating (It is composed of 400 individuals. Once they arrive, we already have 2,000 repatriates [from Sabah]),” Lorenzana said.
“Mayroon pa tayong 3,000 na nandoon, naghihintay po ng tulong para umuwi dito sa atin (We still have 3,000 people there awaiting help so they can come home),” he said.
The repatriates will have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine in Zamboanga City before they are allowed to go back to their home provinces.
Most of the repatriates are from Jolo, Tawi-Tawi, and Basilan.
Meanwhile, Duterte appealed to the Malaysian government to help the Filipinos in Sabah who got stranded in July when the government there imposed lockdown mesures and travel restrictions.
This, despite a ruckus between the two countries when Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. tweeted last July 27 that Sabah is part of the Philippines and not of Malaysia.
The Malaysian government, as a result, issued a note verbale rejecting the Philippines’ claim in Sabah.