DFA-mounted Sweeper Flights Bring Home 367 Overseas Filipinos from Lebanon, Syria, and Bahrain


DFA photo by B. Palencia)

PASAY CITY 13 September 2021 — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) welcomed 367 distressed and undocumented overseas Filipinos from Lebanon, Syria, and Bahrain who flew home via sweeper flights today.

The sweeper flights from Beirut, Lebanon, and Manama, Bahrain mounted by the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs (DFA-OUMWA), which arrived Monday morning, increases the total number of repatriated Filipinos since the start of the pandemic to 420,205.

The flights also flew home five human trafficking survivors from Syria. They were  illegally hired to work in the country after posing and arriving in the country as tourists. The trafficking victims suffered abuse from their employers, as well as poor working conditions until they sought refuge at the Philippine Embassy in Syria.

“While the DFA chartered operations will soon wind down, our commitment to bring home all distressed overseas Filipinos amidst the coronavirus pandemic remains. Our people, both here at home and abroad, will continue to do their heroic work at the frontlines and leave no one needing repatriation behind,” stated DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola.

The DFA will have another chartered flight from Dubai, UAE arriving this September 16. This will be the final DFA-chartered flight scheduled for the year, however, repatriations via commercial flights will continue.

In compliance with health and safety protocols,  all passengers were tested and yielded negative result in the RT-PCR COVID-19 test at least forty-eight hours prior to their departure. 

The repatriates will also undergo facility-based quarantine provided by the Philippine government, in conformity with the health protocols set by the Department of Health (DOH) - Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) and shall be subjected to further RT-PCR Testing for COVID-19. END