Over half a million OFWs displaced by COVID-19 repatriated — DOLE

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 4) — More than half a million overseas Filipino workers whose livelihood were affected by the COVID-19 crisis have been repatriated since the start of the pandemic, according to the Department of Labor and Employment.

The DOLE on Sunday said 502,581 OFWs have so far arrived home after undergoing COVID-19 tests and quarantine protocols.

According to the department, 645,071 Filipino migrant workers were affected by the global pandemic, 97% of whom lost their jobs.

Data from its International Labor Affairs Bureau also showed a rising number of COVID-19 cases in the migrant labor sector. As of April 4, the bureau recorded 17,495 infections among OFWs based on reports submitted by the 40 Philippine Overseas Labor Offices worldwide. Of this total, it said there were 10,155 recoveries and 938 deaths.

These figures differ from those of the Department of Foreign Affairs, which listed 16,406 confirmed cases among Filipinos abroad as of April 4. According to the DFA's tally, 10,060 have already gotten well, while 1,049 succumbed to the illness.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the government continues to provide assistance to affected OFWs, with 497,122 repatriated individuals so far having received a one-time cash aid of ₱10,000 through the DOLE's AKAP program.

The department added that it also provides financial, food and medical relief to those residing abroad. To date, it said it has extended around $1.93 million (or some ₱93.7 million) in cash assistance to 9,667 virus-hit OFWs. Meanwhile, $2.6 million (or around ₱126.2 million) in medical and food aid has been given to 124,945 workers, it said.