THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) will bring home more than 1,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Qatar starting Wednesday.
Three chartered flights for 1,062 OFWs had been arranged by the government’s Doha, Qatar Philippine Overseas Labor Office, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said in a statement on Tuesday.
The agency said the first batch of 354 distressed Filipino workers would fly home on Wednesday.
The two other flights will be on Aug. 19 and 26, and will bring home 354 OFWs each.
The Labor department said 2,327 OFWs had been repatriated from Qatar amid a global coronavirus pandemic.
The virus has sickened 20.3 million and killed about 740,000 people worldwide, according to the Worldometers website, citing various sources including data from the World Health Organization.
About 13.2 million have recovered from the virus, it said.
The government has allotted P5 billion more to help OFWs affected by the global coronavirus pandemic, according to the Labor department.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte approved the release of the fund for the repatriation of migrant Filipinos and other aid, Mr. Bello said on Sunday.
The agency said the P5 billion would be released to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), which is in charge of facilitating the return of OFWs.
The OWWA also pays for the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) tests, accommodation of overseas workers under quarantine and their return to their home provinces.
The Labor department earlier said its P2.5-billion emergency fund for OFWs had been depleted. The fund helped about 250,000 OFWs but the agency received half a million applications for aid. — GMC