DFA: 13,320 more overseas Filipinos repatriated before Christmas

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 22) - The Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday said 13,320 more Filipinos abroad were repatriated last week just in time for Christmas.

This raises the total of Filipinos brought home to 314,158 since coronavirus-related repatriations started last February.

The DFA said 64 special commercial repatriation flights were facilitated last week. Included in these flights were 74 overseas Filipino workers from Diego Garcia island; 33 OFWs and a minor from Cambodia; 21 human trafficking victims from the United Arab Emirates; nine undocumented Filipinos from Iraq; four OFWs and two minors from Guangzhou, China; two medical repatriates from Oman; two undocumented OFWs from Vietnam; one household service worker from Iran; and a stranded seafarer from the Bahamas.

Also flown home last week were 32 Filipino crew members of three stranded vessels near Marshall Islands.

"The three ships were previously stranded at sea near the Marshall Islands after the ship owner, Dalian Ocean Fishing Company Limited, stopped paying the salaries of the crew and failed to make provisions for refueling the ships," the DFA said in a statement.

"The DFA, through its Office for Migrant Workers’ Affairs and its Philippine Embassies in Australia, New Zealand and China lobbied hard with authorities in Vanuatu, Marshall Islands and China, including with the Chinese Embassy in Manila. This led the ship owner to make arrangements for the salaries of the crew and to refuel the ships to be able return to port in Dalian, China," it added.

The DFA also said it will continue to bring more Filipinos back home before the year ends.