CLARK FREEPORT -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it is flying home more than 1,000 distressed overseas Filipino workers from Qatar in three batches starting August 12.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) in Doha has arranged three chartered flights for 1,062 OFWs consisting of wards at the halfway house in the capital, and stranded and displaced workers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The first batch of 354 repatriates will be home on August 12. And we are thankful to the government of Qatar for allowing the chartered flights to bring home our dear modern day heroes," Bello said.
Two other flights, also carrying 354 OFWs each, are arriving a week apart on August 19 and 26. All three chartered flights of the Philippine Airlines were arranged and funded by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
Based on records of Polo-Qatar, DOLE has already assisted in the repatriation of 2,327 OFWs since the onset of the global pandemic this year.
Last June, the labor department brought home 277 distressed overseas Filipino workers from North Africa.
The repatriates, including OFW dependents from Libya, Tunisia and Algeria, were flown in via a special flight of PAL.
The repatriated OFWs were employed in the oil industry and medical establishments, with some who finished their contracts while mostly were displaced due to the temporary shutdown of companies due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
DOLE had mounted similar repatriation missions from the Middle East for stranded and distressed OFWs through the Polos utilizing the assistance and repatriation funds of Owwa.