The Department of Foreign Affairs welcomed Monday morning from the United Arab Emirates 128 distressed Filipinos, most of them needing legal assistance.
Of the total, 115 were from Abu Dhabi while 13 were from Dubai.
The DFA shouldered the maintenance and operating costs of the shelters in the UAE where most stayed before coming home, issued travel documents free of charge, paid for their exit visas and related costs, as well as their airfares up to their home provinces.
Before they left for Manila, the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi urged the repatriates to spread the word on the dangers and hardships they experienced to warn their compatriots.
The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and its member agencies, such as the Bureau of Immigration and Social Welfare department, were also present at the airport to welcome the repatriates.
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority representatives likewise provided information on free skills training programs.
“The Philippine government will never tire and continues to assist our kababayans who are distressed,” said DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Y. Arriola. “While we welcome the safe return of our distressed kababayans, we also make an appeal to everyone to be mindful of the dangers of human trafficking and to stay away from illegal recruiters.”
The Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi has repatriated 265 distressed Filipinos since the start of the year, while the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai has sent home 150. (DFA)