ALMOST 1,500 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) have come home amid a global coronavirus pandemic that has sickened 10.4 million and killed more than 508,000 people worldwide, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The agency said 262 sailors from Barbados arrived on Tuesday morning at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga province, while 320 from the United Arab Emirates were expected to arrive in the afternoon via a special commercial flight.
The group from Barbados was part of the crew of vessels Harmony of the Seas, Azamara Pursuit and Celebrity Equinox, DFA said in a statement.
Local manning agency Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines coordinated and chartered the repatriation flight, it added.
The returning Filipinos were sent to designated facilities for a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
This followed the arrival of 498 workers from Macau and Kuwait at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Monday. DFA said 183 Filipinos including three infants also came home from Phuket, and 223 more from Hong Kong and France.
This brings the number of repatriated Filipinos to more than 60,000 since the program in February, the agency said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay said they were working on the repatriation of stranded and distressed workers in Los Angeles and Saudi Arabia.
“Special Philippine Airline flights are coming your way this week to bring you home,” he said in a social media post on Monday evening. The flights will be on July 1 and 4.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola on June 24 said the department would bring home 27,400 overseas workers within three weeks.
The DFA said 8,467 Filipino workers abroad have been infected with the virus, 2,829 of whom were being treated, 5,091 have recovered and 547 died. — Charmaine A. Tadalan