150 OFWs return from Yemen
MANILA, Philippines – A total of 150 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from strife-torn Yemen arrived in Manila on Saturday, April 11, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said.
The first batch of 50 Filipino workers arrived past 10 am aboard Philippine Airlines flight PR 655, and the second batch of 100 via a Cebu Pacific flight past 3 pm.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said in an interview on state-run Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday that the government shouldered the repatriation cost of the returning workers except those whose airline tickets were provided by their companies.
Baldoz said that upon their arrival at the airport in Manila, the workers were welcomed by the OWWA repatriation team.
She said the workers were briefed on the Assist WELL (Welfare, Employment, Legal and Livelihood) program which seeks to help Filipino migrant workers who had been suddenly displaced due to the political conflict in Yemen.
Those who had to stay in Manila overnight before proceeding to their respective provinces were provided accommodations as well as transportation, the labor chief said.
Baldoz said some of the workers are likely to wait for the situation to normalize in their former host country in the hope of returning there, but those who want to seek employment elsewhere would receive "employment facilitation assistance" from the government.
She also said the government is mulling the provision of a P10,000-cash assistance for Filipino workers forced to flee Libya and Yemen.
In a statement on Friday, OWWA said that the returning OFWs boarded their Manila-bound planes in Riyadh, KSA, where the composite team of Philippine embassy and Philippine Overseas Labor officials evacuated them to safety from Yemen, to Jizan.
The Philippine government repatriated the OFWs from Yemen, where alert level 4 has been raised since February 2015 due to "large-scale internal conflict." (READ: Philippines orders nationals to leave Yemen)
Under this alert level, the Philippine government undertakes mandatory evacuation procedures. (READ: Hundreds of Filipinos flee strife-torn Yemen)
Four OFWs from Yemen earlier returned to the country Wednesday night, April 8, while a batch of 91 – including 5 minors – arrived Thursday, April 9.
The situation in Yemen worsened after a Saudi-led air campaign began on March 26 to push back Iran-backed Huthi rebels' advance after they forced President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee the country. – Rappler.com