MANILA, Philippines --- In the "largest single mass repatriation flight in Philippine history," the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) brought home 410 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Lebanon.
In a statement on Thursday, the DFA said the Filipino repatriates, most of whom have spent years in Lebanon, are beneficiaries of the Free Voluntary Mass Repatriation Program organized by the Philippine Embassy in Beirut.
They arrived in the Philippines last July 12, the DFA added.
Under the program, the beneficiaries' travel expenses, such as tickets and immigration penalties, are shouldered by the embassy.
The program was launched in December 2019. This latest batch of repatriates brought the total number of program beneficiaries to 1,433, according to the DFA.
The department added that the embassy, which has previously repatriated a total of 1,023 Filipinos on 15 flights under the program, assured that it will "continue to cover all costs for the repatriation of future beneficiaries under the said program."
Some 354 OFWs from Saudi Arabia were also brought home via a chartered flight arranged by the DFA.
Meanwhile, the DFA facilitated the return of 167 stranded Filipinos from Thailand, including one medical repatriate.
"The [Philippine] Embassy in Bangkok supported this initiative by securing flight and landing clearances in Thailand and the Philippines," the DFA added.
A batch of 69 Filipino seafarers from Singapore and 300 overseas Filipino from Qatar also arrived in Manila Thursday. [ac]