Coronavirus pandemic forces over 12,000 Filipino workers to return to PH

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippine government has repatriated 12,144 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as of Sunday, April 12, as countries all over the world struggle to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Latest numbers from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) show majority of Filipinos repatriated were seafarers, with the Philippines supplying the largest share of labor on cargo ships across the globe.

Majority of Filipinos who were brought back home were stranded aboard cruise ships and various countries due to travel restrictions in place to quell the spread of COVID-19.

To date, more than 9,000 seafarers have arrived in the Philippines since February.

In a series of repatriations done in the week of April 5 to 12 alone, over 4,700 seafarers returned home. They include:

April 5

April 6

April 7

April 7 to 8

April 8

April 9

April 10

April 11

April 12 

The government's coronavirus task force on Sunday urged local government units to allow ships to dock so that more Filipinos stranded on ships can disembark and go back to their families.

Aside from the seafarers, more than 3,000 land-based Filipino workers have returned to the Philippines since early February. In the week of April 6 alone, over 1,000 OFWs arrived back in the country from the following areas:  

April 6

April 7

April 8

April 9

April 12

The DFA gave assurances that all returning Filipinos will undergo 14-day quarantines, supervised by the Bureau of Quarantine.

The Department of Labor and Employment earlier announced that regular and documented OFWs, certain undocumented OFWs, and balik-manggagawa or OFWs who cannot return to their host country because of the Philippines' ongoing lockdown will be eligible to receive P10,000 in government assistance.

The Philippines has so far confirmed 4,648 cases of the coronavirus, with 297 deaths and 197 recoveries.

The global death toll due to the virus has exceeded 109,000, while over 1.7 million people have been infected in more than 190 countries and territories. – Rappler.com 

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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