As part of efforts to bolster response to the needs of overseas Filipinos (OFs) under the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it has repatriated more than 7,000 OFs this year as part of its duty to ensure the welfare of Filipinos abroad.
Through the repatriation efforts led by the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA), a total of 7,880 overseas Filipinos were repatriated from January to November 2022.
In its accomplishment report presented to Malacañang, the DFA said 57.67 percent of this number are from the Middle East; 942 OFs and distressed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are from Kuwait, and 70 are from Sri Lanka.
President Marcos earlier said the coordination between the DFA and the newly created Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) would be further strengthened in a bid to provide assistance to OFs.
“Lalo nating paiigtingin ang tambalang ito upang makapagbigay nang mabilis at karampatang serbisyo at tulong sa mga overseas Filipinos na nangangailangan ng tulong,” the President said in a meeting with the Filipino community in Cambodia in November, which took place on the sidelines of the 40th and 41st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits.
In his official trips abroad, the chief executive has described OFWs as the pride of the Philippines who “bring honor to the Filipino nation.”
Marcos likewise recognized the valuable contribution of OFWs, especially during the time when the country’s economy was dampened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You provided a much-needed boost to the pandemic-stricken economy… nakakapagpondo tayo ng mga social programs na tumutulong sa mga mahihirap at saka ‘yung pinaka nangangailangan ng tulong na pamilya sa Pilipinas,” the President said in a speech in Phnom Penh.
Meanwhile, on the delivery of consular services, DFA issued a total of 3,589,620 passports from January to October this year.
The DFA opened an additional six temporary off-site passport services facilities.
As of November this year, DFA has issued 55,574 visas and 551,635 Apostille certificates.
On bilateral engagements, bilateral agreements were signed on defense, culture, counterterrorism, trade and investment, technology and data protection, and migrant workers protection.