The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) repatriated 9,352 overseas Filipinos last week, bringing the total number of repatriated nationals abroad since the start of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic in February this year to 223,294.
Of the total number of OFWs repatriated, 73,870 (33.08%) are sea-based, while 149,424 (66.92%) are land-based, the DFA said in a report released over the weekend.
This week’s DFA-assisted repatriation included 8,444 overseas Filipinos from the Middle East, 512 from Asia and the Pacific, 394 from Europe, and 2 from the Americas via 38 special commercial repatriation flights.
The foreign affairs office also chartered two flights from Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia that brought home 603 Filipinos, including five OFWs with chronic medical conditions.
Part of the 8,444 overseas Filipinos from the Middle East were 260 Agrostudies students from Israel, an undocumented OFW and her minor child from Iran, and two possible victims of trafficking-in-persons from Syria.
Some 92 OFWs from Benghazi, Libya were likewise brought home, marking the DFA’s first repatriation from Benghazi since the outbreak of the civil strife in 2017.
Meanwhile, 40 Filipino fishermen who were stranded in North Sulawesi, Indonesia were ferried home to General Santos City onboard the BRP Tubbataha, a partnership repatriation effort between the Philippine Consulate in Manado, the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta, and the Philippine Coast Guard.
The DFA said it was the first repatriation effort by sea from Indonesia since the start of the pandemic.