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Beyond The Islands

Welcome Home, Filipinos – Bringing Back our OFWs

The world is in crisis. A lot of people lost their jobs due to the pandemic – Filipinos included. We are everywhere, and it’s hard to extend help to our countrymen abroad. Luckily, we are able to welcome home Filipinos who lost jobs, and want nothing but to be together with the ones they left behind.

Cacao Culture

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has been busy since the pandemic started. They have been non-stop in facilitating repatriations for Filipinos from all over the globe. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are a crucial part of our society, and it’s good to see that the government has not abandoned them in these trying times.

Filipinos from all over the world are coming home

In an earlier statement, the DFA said that they have repatriated a total of 124,717 OFWs. This includes both “land-based” (75,062 people) and “sea-based” (49,655 people) OFWs who lost their jobs.

The list of countries where they came from is extensive, and somewhat surprising. There were some from the United Arab Emirates, some from Italy, and Japan. But there were also others from Bangladesh, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados. There were even some from more remote locations such as Mongolia and Palau.

This goes to show that Filipinos continue to be a crucial component of the global workforce. It’s unfortunate that they have lost their jobs, but it’s good that we were able to bring them home.

RELATED: OFW Heroes at the frontlines of COVID-19 battle

Locsin caught teary-eyed

The latest batch of repatriations were from Lebanon, which was rocked to the core by the recent tragedy of the explosion in Beirut.

386 OFWs arrived in the Philippines last August 17. DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. was there to personally welcome home Filipinos from all over the world. He was even seen assisting a mother and child during the event.

DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. at the Arrival of Repatriated Overseas Filipinos from Lebanon

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. personally assists a mother and child during the arrival of 386 repatriated overseas Filipinos from Lebanon at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal III in Pasay City on August 17, 2020.The Secretary carries in his arms a paralyzed little girl while looking for a comfortable seat for both the mother and child.The encounter has made Secretary Locsin teary-eyed while delivering his short welcome message to our repatriated kababayans, and even took to social media to tweet the emotional meeting, “One OFW carried a little girl without soft skeleton; she was draped like a rag doll on her mother’s arms; I took the child; she weighed like an angel must; and led the mother to the best seat available and gave her back. We got them home.”The arrival of the 386 Filipinos from Lebanon, including the remains of four (4) individuals killed in the explosion at the Port of Beirut, is the latest in a series of repatriation flights being organized by the DFA.

Posted by Radio Television Malacañang – RTVM on Monday, August 17, 2020

 

Secretary Locsin also made headlines when he became noticeably teary-eyed as he delivered his welcome message.

Bring them home

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is pushing for even more funds under the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2). This allocates an additional ₱820 million for the DFA to bring home over 100,000 additional OFWs currently stranded abroad.

We may be facing tough times ahead, but it’s comforting to know that we are together in this fight. Welcome home, Filipinos!

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