Manila airport. For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News File

Dubai: The Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Dubai repatriated 120 Filipinos from the UAE on the last day of 2020. “They are the last batch in the list for 2020 who requested the Philippine government’s assistance to take them home,” Philippine Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes confirmed.

According to reports, over 50,000 Filipinos from Dubai and the Northern Emirates have left the UAE since June for various reasons brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Of the total, the Philippine Consulate in Dubai has provided free tickets and assistance to around 3,500 distressed Filipinos.

The assistance was coursed through the PCG’s Assistance to Nationals (ATN) Section. At an average cost of Dh2,500 for a one-way ticket to the Philippines, the ATN has facilitated the release of around Dh8.75 million for the tickets of 3,500 Filipinos brought home in 2020.

Cortes noted some of the Filipinos from Dubai who have gone back home because of the pandemic may have already returned to their employment in the UAE “but most have decided to take a shot back home and hoped that economic opportunities for them would get better.”

A better 2021

In his New Year message to kabayans (compatriots), Cortes shared with Gulf News: “As we begin the New Year, I pray that the Filipinos in Dubai and Northern Emirates continue to stay safe and be responsible in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. I also pray that they rebuild the lives the pandemic has wrought upon them and their families and that opportunities would soon flourish.”

“I continue urging our people to remain cautious and to strictly adhere to health protocols as determined by global health authorities. The PCG remains committed to being of assistance to our nationals in need and we assure that our service to our people are both efficient and effective.”