The Department of Foreign Affairs said that the government had repatriated over 350,000 overseas Filipinos amid the coronavirus pandemic.
During a hearing at the House committee on overseas workers’ affairs, DFA Assistant Secretary Enrico Fos said that as of January 26, there were 352,999 Filipinos repatriated back to the Philippines.
Of this number, 25,488 were repatriated during the first three weeks of the year while more than 327,000 were brought home in 2020.
Majority of the repatriated Filipinos or around 70 percent were from the Middle East while the rest came from Asia and the Pacific, the Americas, Europe and Africa.
The DFA official said that at least 13,800 Filipinos abroad have been infected by the coronavirus disease, while some 1,000 OFWs have died due to the virus.
Most of the reported COVID-19 cases among Filipinos abroad were recorded in the Middle East.
“While the Middle East has the biggest number, the new development in the Middle East is that the rate of vaccination is quite high and migrant and migrant workers are included in the vaccination program of the countries in the Middle East,” Fos said.
“Their projection is maybe by the middle of the year or third quarter, they would be able to vaccinate most of the people in the Middle East of the vaccine against COVID-19. We expect that our people there would be included, and the fact is that our people there are included in the vaccination program,” he added. (TDT)