DFA Welcomes 742 OFWs, Vows to Leave No One Behind Amid Pandemic

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PASAY CITY 09 APRIL 2020 – "The arrival of 742 Filipinos from the United States and Kuwait today is a testament to President Rodrigo Duterte's commitment to protect and promote the welfare and well-being of overseas Filipino workers. Whether on land or at sea, the DFA assures you that the government is working tirelessly to reach everyone -- leaving no one behind," said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola.

Of the 742 repatriates, 439 were seafarers on board Norwegian Joy and Regent Splendor from California, US. Working closely with the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C., local manning agency CF Sharp brought home the seafarers via a chartered flight that arrived this morning.

Meanwhile, a total of 303 distressed OFWs from Kuwait arrived at NAIA Terminal 1 at midday. They were the latest batch of OFWs who benefited from the ongoing amnesty program of the Kuwaiti government.

Both groups have undergone Bureau of Quarantine's strict medical screening and health briefing. They will also observe the mandatory 14-day quarantine before reuniting with their families.

"Filipinos who require emergency assistance should immediately contact the nearest Philippine Embassy or Consulate or send a message through DFA-OUMWA's OFW Help Facebook page. The DFA, together with its over 90 Foreign Service Posts across the globe, stands ready to provide the necessary assistance," Undersecretary Arriola added.

To date, a total of 9,628 Filipinos have returned home amidst COVID-19 pandemic, of which, a total of 6,680 are seafarers while 2,948 are land-based OFWs. Their return was made possible through the partnership of government agencies such as DOH-BOQ, OWWA, DOTr and the private sector under the whole-of-the government approach. END 

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(Photos by DFA-OUMWA)