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Filipinos forced back home by pandemic top 254,000 — DFA

(Philstar.com) – November 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs on Monday said it brought home another 8,831 Filipinos from overseas last week. 

This brings the total number of migrants repatriated by the agency due to the novel coronavirus crisis to 254,785. 

“More than 87% or 7,715 of [last] week’s repatriates arrived from the Middle East,” the DFA said in a press release. 

It added that another 611 Filipinos returned from Asia-Pacific, trailed by 503 repatriates from Europe and two from the Americas. 

“[T]he DFA chartered a Philippine Airlines flight to Guangzhou, China, which brought home 86 distressed overseas Filipinos from various regions in China, including a medical stretcher case,” the agency said, adding that these repatriates arrived safely in Manila last Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, 151 deportees from Malaysia landed in Zamboanga last Thursday, the department said. 

“Three [overseas Filipinos] with chronic illness were also medically repatriated from [the United Arab Emirates], Bahrain, and Oman. Finally, our various Foreign Service Posts helped in the return of overseas Filipinos from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Vietnam, and Japan,” DFA added. 

On Monday, two DFA-chartered flights from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Dili, Timor-Leste were scheduled to bring home around 370 “distressed” Filipinos from the two countries. 

The department said it expects to repatriate another 90,000 Filipinos before the year is out.

Latest data from the agency shows that more than 11,500 Filipinos have contracted coronavirus overseas, over 800 of whom died. — Bella Perez-Rubio

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