Duterte orders cash aid for Filipino repatriates from Saudi Arabia

Published June 19, 2021, 7:52 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government has facilitated the repatriation of more than 300 distressed Filipinos from Saudi Arabia amid the adverse impact of the raging pandemic.

President Rodrigo Duterte (File photo/Malacañang)

According to the Palace, the latest batch of 347 repatriates will each be given P10,000 in cash assistance upon the orders of President Duterte. The Filipino repatriates are expected to arrive in Manila this weekend.

“Bilang tulong po sa inyo (To help you), I have instructed Department of Foreign Affairs to use Bayanihan 2 funds to give all repatriated OFWs today P10,000 each as reintegration financial assistance,” the President said in a video message.

The Palace said the Filipinos boarded a Philippine Airlines chartered flight as part of the government’s repatriation mission from Saudi Arabia. Another repatriation flight is being arranged next week.

The repatriation of the Filipinos came after the President sent a special envoy to Saudi Arabia to enhance the country’s relations, particularly in the area of labor protection.

Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje, who arrived in Saudi Arabia Saturday, lauded the repatriation mission as a “success.” He also thanked the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Saudi government for close coordination on the latest repatriation of the Filipinos.

Since the pandemic started last year, the government has brought home 403,234 Filipino workers, including 105,582 seafarers.

Last month, the President approved the release of additional P5 billion for the repatriation and quarantine expenses of returning migrant workers displaced by the pandemic. The labor department earlier requested for extra funds for repatriates who are required to undergo testing and quarantine protocols upon arrival in the country.